The Valley School is Reggio Inspired. In the Reggio approach, children are seen as powerful and competent individuals, who take joy in constructing their own knowledge. Teachers at the Valley School strive to create an atmosphere of respect for children’s interests and desires, while encouraging constant dialogue and conversation. In Reggio, the environment is considered the third teacher. The environment includes the playground as well as each of the classrooms. Particular care has been taken to make each classroom inviting, inspiring, and developmentally appropriate for every child.
Teachers see themselves as researchers, guiding and supporting the children by listening and observing, documenting and displaying their work. Through collaboration, they offer experiences and provocations to further enhance the children’s work, helping them go deeper in their understanding of themselves and the world around them. Teachers ask open-ended questions, encouraging children to consider different perspectives, and allowing them to be risk takers. In this way, children learn that there is no right or wrong answer and that no one fails. Consequently, a safe learning atmosphere where children are free to be inventive and creative.
As children express themselves through these languages, they develop a wide spectrum of skills; for instance, the Block Center offers opportunities for your child to develop math, language, social, listening, gross motor, fine motor, and a multitude of artistic skills. Our centers are: Blocks, Dramatic Play, Science, Manipulatives, Puzzles, Books, Writing, Listening, Music, Felt Board, Art, Easel, Work Bench, Light Table, and Sensory Table. Teachers support and guide the children as they use the hundred languages through play and inquiry during Work Time, and through experiences offered during Large and Small Group interactions.
The Creative Curriculum
The Valley School utilizes the Creative Curriculum which balances teacher-planned and child-initiated learning. The Creative Curriculum emphasizes responsiveness to children’s strengths, interests, needs and learning styles. It generates content-rich, developmentally appropriate programs that support active learning and promote your child’s progress in all developmental areas. The Creative Curriculum is based on the research of a number of world-renowned philosophers and theorists whose contributions have revolutionized the modern field of education.
The Grow NJ Kids Program
The Valley School is one of the first early childhood programs in the Bergen County area accepted to participate in the Grow NJ Kids program. The Grow NJ Kids program is New Jersey’s quality rating and improvement system. It is a system designed to create universal standards of quality for all early care and education programs throughout New Jersey. The Grow NJ Kids program establishes a framework for programs to meet high quality standards and is divided into five core areas:
Safe, Healthy Learning Environment
Curriculum and Learning Environment
Family and Community Engagement
Administration and Management
The Grow NJ Kids process assesses the total program criteria with greatest emphasis placed on the quality of interactions among staff, children, families and communities as well as the developmental appropriateness of the curriculum. health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications, physical environment, and administration. These are all reviewed during the Grow NJ Kids assessment process, with primary consideration given to the nature of the child’s experience.