At Bottega Child Development Center we carefully design our program based on chronological ages and developmental stages. Our groups are divided by age into three classes starting as young as 18 months up to 5 years old. Our three groups are:
Image of the Child
Children are strong, resilient and capable. They are born with multiple and wonderful abilities. Driven by their natural curiosity, ideas, and interest, they are prepared to construct knowledge as they interact with their parents, teachers, and encounter everything the environment has to offer them. The three main protagonist in this educational approach are the children, the teachers and the parents.
Our Teacher as a Facilitator, Nurturer and Guide
Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of theories, topics, and interests, as they engage in continuous discussions and interpretations of their work. The Teacher guides open-ended projects following the inquiry approach which may last for a few moments or a long period of time.
The Environment as a Third Teacher
The design and use of space encourages encounters, communication, and relationships. There is an underlying order and beauty in the design and organization of all the space in our school. Every corner of every space has an identity and a purpose, is rich in potential to engage and to communicate, and is valued and cared for by children and adults.
Parents as Partners
Parents participation is considered essential and takes many forms. They play an active part in their children’s learning experience and help ensure the welfare of all the children in the school. At Bottega, parents are invited to exchange ideas with our teachers and as the integration of different wisdoms to help support the child, children and / or school itself. Parents also support their children’s processes taking active roles in the school, through different committees that contribute to special events, documentation and activities, according to each parent’s time and talent.
Observations are ongoing and a natural disposition of our profession. This connectedness and observant “eye” takes action inside and outside of the classroom every day. Documentation is our form of communication. It also makes thinking and understanding visible to the children, peers, teachers, parents and the community in general.Careful consideration and attention is given to children’s and teachers’ thinking. Teachers observe and record children’s learning process; they transcribe children’s verbal language (words and dialogue), photograph and video children at play, and with all that they design panels and books to share with the children and the parents. These Observations, and reflection of our interactions also enable our teachers to design children’s daily experiences and assess the children’s development.
Documentations serve many purposes
The Inquiry Approach to Education is a child-centered method driven by the exploration of materials, or world concepts. As they investigate, children ask questions, make new discoveries, test their discoveries, and learn new concepts.
Children are born with a natural curiosity about the world we live in. Whether amazed by a bird flying by or smelling a flower, to observing how fast or slow a car rolls down a hill, children are learning. Children are always encountering the world with wonderment and awe.
When children are engaged in discovering something new they are creating connections in their brain as they build new knowledge. Children learn as they play and interact with their world. Play is the vehicle that drives them to learn about science, diversity, interdependence, relationships.
As children play they are learning. Our teachers intentionally plan meaningful experiences that connect with all the curricular fields of knowledge needed to build understanding and create habits of mind. Habits of Mind are disposition/behaviors we have or develop in order to confront problems.
Fields of Knowledge
Habits of Mind
16 Habits of Mind are embedded in our approach:
At Bottega Child Development Center we want to empower our children with life-long skills. Being exposed to a language at an early age stimulates children’s ability to think flexibly, as well as provides higher abilities of cognition as their brains learn vocabulary and understand sentence structures in two languages. Our school offers an innovative dual language program where our students will interact with their teachers using both English and Spanish in an organic way. Language is the first step in building pre-literacy skills. As research shows the more languages and vocabulary children develop the stronger readers they will be in the future. In a city like Miami, Spanish becomes an essential tool, and a language that they will be able to put in practice in their interactions with their community.
Our Explorer’s environment and approach is dedicated to the young toddlers of Bottega. Like in a nest, our toddlers feel connected and nurtured. Our classroom experiences are filled with mindful sensory play, which overflows in a predictable rhythm into the outdoor playground for continued natural exploration.
We focus on building meaningful relationships with the children and their families. We observe and support them as they slowly become familiar in their environment. As they grow into competent explorers of their surroundings, we frame their discoveries with positive meaning about the world around them.
Safe in their environment, our Explores become more autonomous. At this young age, children’s connections with peers and adults begin to grow beyond family members. These social and cognitive connections, stimulate continuous healthy development. The children begin to show signs of budding independence, as they develop various ways to express their likes and dislikes.
We celebrate each Explorer’s individuality and support them as they spread their wings, leap out of the nest and hop into the branch to investigate further afield!
The ateliers in our Investigator’s classroom environments are a mindful response to the children’s innate curiosity and desire to construct new horizons of knowledge. Days for our Investigators are filled with joyful opportunities to collaborate with their teachers and peers in a more self-directed exploration. Children work on the environment as they master it, as well as with open ended materials and the complexities these offer.
At this age, children have found the useful tool of verbal communication to further learn about the world. They begin to investigate the nature of the self; who they are as individuals and their value in a group. New ways to build relationships emerge, children begin not only to understand likes and dislikes, but they begin to negotiate with friends through their budding verbal abilities. They start to recognize that they have ideas that matter and an array of feelings that can be expressed and also regulated.
Children reach a clearer understanding of themselves existing beyond their parents, and become part of a group of peers supporting empathy and openness. In partnership, children observe, question and create theories that lead them to a more reflective investigation of the self, others, and concepts in their surroundings. With a voice and zeal to spread their wings, they take a cognitive and socio-emotional flight, willing to share (sometimes) but able to express when not ready (always). Our Investigators’ work, leads them to a promising independence for further inquiry into a world that keeps on getting bigger!
Designed for the more confident communicators, the Researchers’ environment is a buzzing hub of ideas, conversations, negotiation and theories put to the test. Children and teachers work towards creating a reflective classroom that draws from the children’s theories. Supported by a rich environment filled with complex provocations, and a myriad of materials as thinking tools. The teachers support ideas, observe and scaffold hypothesis that can be refined to form new discoveries. Together, child and teachers identify long term projects of research that branch out in many directions, surpassing the preschool objectives, and reaching world issues that reflect an intuitive thoughtfulness and great wisdom. As the year progresses, so does the children’s ability to adjust to transitions, develop listening and social skills, as well as the ability to express their thinking. Children often will be seen not only verbalizing their thoughts, but also representing their thinking processes through schematic drawings.
At this age, these young researchers, feel confident, with the support of their peers and teachers, to make predictions, presentations, questions, as they direct their learning. They move autonomously in the classroom, with purpose, as they seamlessly connect all areas of investigation; literacy, language, art, math, social studies and science.
Our Researchers’ mindful approach towards their peers and those in the school community serves as witness of the capable child who is a resilient, creative, and an innovative citizen of the world!