Bottega Child Development Center developed a unique program focused on meeting each child’s individual needs. We view education as a continuous process of growing and learning. We see ourselves as teacher researchers, continuously offering meaningful experiences to our students reflecting on their processes of thinking, learning and how they build understanding. We invite children to become active and engaged learners as well as critical and creative thinkers. Through the inquiry approach we invite our students to co-construct their knowledge alongside their teachers. Our teachers are curriculum designers, inspired by Reggio Emilia Philosophy and implementing Visible Thinking Strategies created by Harvard University, Project Zero. Our approach is attuned to the challenges of the 21st century by being mindful about relationships, empathy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, exploration, discovery, reflection and cultural awareness.

“Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not a preparation for life but is life itself.”
John Dewey



Intentional observations, and reflection of our experiences enable our teachers to design children’s daily experiences. Documentation is our form of communication. Through panels, books, videos, pictures, and anecdotal notes, teachers share their reflections, children’s thinking and understanding becomes visible to themselves, peers, parents and community.

Time in Our School Life

In children’s young life “time” is very fluid like the ripples of water. Our school has established routines that organically flow through the day that meet the developmental stage of the different age groups. The teachers have embedded in their day natural moment to meet as a group and individually to encourage relationships, and develop projects. The projects that are under investigation are born out of the curiosity of the child, teachers, parents, customs of the community and urban trends that last as short as a moment or as long as a whole year.


Explorers – Toddler

We take pride in offering our toddlers a unique opportunity to experience the world with intentional stimulation and provocations. No child is alike for this reason our collective research creates mindful learning environments and experiences.
The name of this class expresses this age group’s natural and favorite activity, Exploration. Too often this stage is referred to as the “the terrible two’s.” But the adults at Bottega, like the children, say “no way!”

Exploration is a vital part of the developmental milestones children embrace as they become independent. There is a masterful dance between needing Mom – Dad and an “I do it myself” desire.

We celebrate the emergent “I” understanding that they are creating meaning away from Mom and Dad. Therefore, unsurprisingly the school community clearly becomes a privileged place of growth; a play lab where they will learn about independence and others as they see, touch, smell, taste, hear, walk, run, hop, dance, sing, paint, squeeze, pour, through… wonder.

As the “I” explores images of independence (eating, sleeping away from home), the child also has to find a role in the social context of the class. At this age as children enjoy parallel play they also find excitement in their found roles in a new group setting. In this rich environment buzzing with creativity and endless imagination the children’s bodies, senses and spirit become their method of exploration.



psThis age is known for their active investigation not only of all things sensorial but of language. Vocabulary soars with new words, and pronunciation sharpens. For this reason they loves story time, and soon become pre-read as they look at images and create their own narratives. As they explore new found words, dialogue emerges and interactions with their peers become a powerful conduit of learning from each other.

The Inquiry Approach builds on that natural curiosity, enabling them to interact with teachers & peers. As they ask questions, connect ideas, problem solve, communicate their understanding, and reflect on their own learning they discover the joy of independence, belonging to a community. This form of authentic learning transcends beyond the classroom walls. They become active participants of their life long journey as learners shaping their world. In this kind of environment, children naturally engage in key experiences – that foster developmentally important skills.

The knowledge and process skills are grouped into seven categories:

  • Language and Literacy- Vocabulary, phonological awareness, letters, words, print, comprehension, books and other texts.
  • The Arts- Creative representation, music, movement, dramatic play.
  • Mathematics- Classification, number, space, time, patterns/relationships, geometry, spatial awareness, measurement, data collection, organization, representation, and time.
  • Science-the physical properties of objects, living things, and the earth and the environment.
  • Social Studies- Initiative, social relations and emotional development, develop social skills, self-regulation, conflict resolution, and learn how to live within a community
  • Technology – tools and their basic operations and uses.
  • Process skills- observing and exploring; problem solving; and connecting, organizing, communicating, and representing information.

Dual Language Program

Dual Language Program

At Bottega Child Development Center we want to empower our children with life-long skills. Being exposed to and learning a language at an early age sets the ground for easier in-depth learning of the language. Our school offers an innovative dual language program where our students will interact with their teachers using both English and Spanish in a very organic way. We have developed a dual language program that includes Spanish and English because we live in a predominantly bi-lingual city.

Additionally, we look to support our family’s home language so children develop a strong tie to their culture and family relationships. Language is the first step in building pre-literacy skills. As research shows the more languages and vocabulary they develop the stronger readers they will be in the future.

Inquiry Approach

Inquiry Approach to Education

Social Constructivist Theory;
Developed mainly by Dewey, Piaget, Bruner, and Vygotsky

  • Learning is perceived as an active, not passive, process, where knowledge is constructed, not acquired.
  • Knowledge is constructed by the child through internal understanding rather than being learned only from external sources or stimulation.
  • Constructivists emphasize meaningful context rather than abstract instruction out of context.
  • Social conversation & negotiations help students clarify/adapt their ideas, allowing them to build their own knowledge base.


The Inquiry Approach is a Social Constructivist approach for achieving the best standards in a high-quality early childhood programs for toddlers through Preschool ages. The social-constructivist theoretical approach to learning enables our teachers to guide students through in-depth studies of real world topics. When the Approach is implemented our students feel highly motivated and participate in their own learning, becoming critical thinkers using their natural investigator skills, learning how to work individually and collectively within their classroom. Systematic instruction is used as a form of learning the specific skills and the Project work invites the students to apply these skills in meaningful contexts. Our daily schedule and routine give toddlers and preschoolers a feeling of consistency. It promotes creative experiences, pretend play, reading, and alone play as well as play and group time.