At the Piper Center, we trust in the power of play; believing that it is both a foundational right for all children and that it provides immense opportunities for learning. The best way to capture the benefits of play and ensure that children receive the support they need to grow is by utilizing emergent curriculum. Emergent curriculum empowers our teachers to match children’s unique needs with developmentally-appropriate practices. When preparing lesson plans, our teachers take into account children's individual needs and developmental goals, as well as the interests of the group as a whole. Our curriculum areas are integrated and overlapping, which creates robust and meaningful experiences that have the capacity to benefit each child in a different way. Each classroom emphasizes creative expression and problem-solving, while maintaining a balance of teacher-led activities with those that children can guide themselves through independently.
Reggio Emilia Inspired
The Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education, which comes from a small municipality in northern Italy, has greatly inspired much of the work that has been done at the Piper Center over the last decade. This approach stems from a deep respect for children and invites educators to reflect on ways they can use natural, open-ended materials, art, and music to help children answer questions they have about the world. Visitors to the Piper Center will see this philosophy most clearly through the strong connection between classroom and nature as well as the thoughtful ways teachers document children’s learning for them to revisit.
Another important pillar within the school culture of the Piper Center is Conscious Discipline, our philosophy for guidance and social-emotional development. With the tools of Conscious Discipline, adults use Powers like intention, acceptance, and unity, to help children grow the Skills of empathy, assertiveness, composure, and more. The belief that discipline is something we can teach children to have, rather than something that must be done to them, is fundamental to our implementation of this program.
At the Piper Center, we stand secure in our belief that although technology is a necessary tool in our fast-paced society, young children gain very little from time spent in front of screens. Instead, we prioritize whole-body experiences like digging in the dirt, navigating an obstacle course, finger-painting, and cooking during our school day. Additionally, adults within the center are asked to be mindful about the technology brought into the building in order to promote presence and focus on the children.