Why did Bottega Emerge?
In 2003, Bottega Child Development Center emerged from a realization that there was a need in our community to create a school that offered children opportunities to have a voice, think, and explore their interest, so they may grow into lifelong learners. This realization came from our own needs as parents looking for excellence in early childhood education, and a warm, nurturing school where children could be happy and enjoy their journey.
Bottega is a family project. When Carmen Salas, Sylvia De Armas’ sister-in-law moved to Miami they searched together for a school for Ale, Carmen’s’ son who was two years old at the time. The quest for a school that offered the quality of education Carmen experienced in Venezuela was very disappointing. This is when Sylvia and Carmen made the decision to create the place that they were so desperately seeking. That’s how the idea for Bottega Child Development Center was born.
What makes Bottega a school like no other?
Bottega is undoubtedly a special place. From the moment you walk through its doors it is evident that the faculty sees themselves as agents of change. The warm and nurturing environment reveals happy children. The child is always the protagonist and the program is individualized to meet the needs of each child in particular.
It is an innovative school dedicated to follow & implement the highest standards of early childhood education. Our world is increasingly facing rapid changes that demands that children be prepared for our complex and competitive society. Bottega understands that it is no longer enough for children to master the traditional skills such as reading, writing and math. Children need to develop critical and creative thinking; they need to find their own voice and understand their role as a citizen of the world. What makes Bottega different is that we provide a space where that voice is found and used to manifest their processes of thinking.
To offer the child a place where their “Rights,” are respected, and the child is seen as a “Citizen,” of today’s society
To provide children, parents, and community with a school that fosters independent thinkers, and helps them construct understandings that form a solid foundation to excel in their education and life.
Our Identity and Values
Bottega’s core values are; Joy, Mindfulness, Relationships, Communication, Research, & Representation
After World War II, the families in the Municipality of Reggio Emilia were faced with the challenge of rebuilding their town and their society. Loris Malaguzzi, an educator and psychologist became the leader of a parent cooperative movement who had progressive ideas about early childhood education. They placed higher values on the construction of knowledge by the child in his or her relationship with the school environment, the teacher and the parents, rather than a one-way transmission of information. The core element for this philosophy is collaboration and communication.
“Learning and teaching should not stand on opposite banks and just watch the river flow by; instead, they should embark together on a journey down the water. Through an active, reciprocal exchange, teaching can strengthen learning how to learn.”
The Reggio Emilia Approach is a Social Constructivist approach to education. It focuses on each child as an individual and understands that each one them is capable. The child is a member of our society; born not as an empty system to be filled with facts but as a person that is curious and creative, eager to make new discoveries and always trying to figure out their world. The child’s curiosity and creativity will naturally lead them to make meaningful connections with the support of the teachers, parents and peers. Bottega Child Development Center has embraced this approach to support the development of children’s ability so they become life-long learners and explorers, and grow to be independent and responsible citizens.
“Education is an opportunity for the growth and emancipation of the individual and the collective: it is a resource for gaining knowledge and for learning to live together; it is a meeting place where freedom, democracy, and solidarity are practiced and where the value of peace is promoted.”
What are the Characteristics of our Bottega Faculty?
The Bottega Teacher nurtures, models, listens, connects, guides and researches. Our Teacher Researcher facilitates and partners with the child as co-constructor of knowledge. They connect emotionally with the child, building strong relationships and supporting the children in forming a sense of belonging, which allows them to feel safe and develop a sense community. As part of their praxis our teachers observe how children play to discover common interests and possible theories to further their investigation. The teacher is there to help children construct meaning through real experiments and experiences in their daily routines. That is why our teachers practice the pedagogy of listening, using documentation as the form of making children’s learning visible.
Pedagogista is an Italian word that means Curriculum Director. The role of our Pedagogista is to support the teachers’ professional development, and partner with them to design our emergent curriculum, support small group work, and atelier work.
The Atelierista collaborates and supports both the teacher and the children. The big atelier is a space where the children are offered daily opportunities to encounter many types of materials as expressive media; where open discussions and points of views are shared, and where the children work actively with hands and minds, in a context that values the expressiveness and creativity of each child in the group.