The philosophical approach at
West Hill Educare is based on the Educaring® Approach developed
by Magda Gerber under the name Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE™, blended with the teachings of Dr. Emmi Pikler and Maria Montesori.
The Educaring Approach
is a relationship-based approach rooted in a foundation of respect for
children. Magda learned from Dr. Emmi Pikler about the importance of free movement, predictability of routine and to both recognize and involve children in their own care. Montessori also recognized that children learn best through purposeful "work," and encouraged
skill development through independent exploration.
At WHE, we invite each child to be an active
participant in their own care and offer them choices for activity. In addition
to supporting individual skill development, we recognize our
inclination towards interdependence and seek to foster
a sense of community and belonging for our children and families.
Our day is structured with consistent routines and expectations that serve to facilitate the
child’s basic sense of predictability and trust in the world. Within this context,
each child gains a sense of themself as an individual while learning
to negotiate socially. As they listen to and “read” other
people, they learn to express their own ideas and solve problems in a kind
and sensitive manner.
During the second and third years
of life, young children experience incredible growth. Around the time
of their first birthday, children enjoy increased mobility and are striving
to master their new-found ability to walk. As the second year progresses
they gain increased coordination and refinement of both large and fine
motor movements. Children start to show an interest in doing things
for themselves and are eager to get their hands on things and smell,
taste, touch, look and listen as they manipulate items to explore their
At WHE we support these great
steps in development with daily observation to continually fine-tune our environment
and routine. Similarly, the interested
child watches us and others around them. They gain understanding and integrate information through observation of and interaction with people and the environment.
Through activity and their own observation, the child's mind is engaged. At this
time it is critical that they have loving, kind models to emulate.
As a social person, the one and
two year-old child is eager to gain language and communicative competence.
They attempt to model the language and behaviors of the adults and children
they spend time with. Accordingly, we see our role as one of a
model and facilitator. At WHE we model the behavior we want children
to acquire and our language with children is positive and encouraging.
We choose materials that help
young children gain real information. Items are presented on low, open
shelves in an uncluttered manner that enables children to see clearly
what is available and invites them to independently choose their activity.
We encourage active children to play with passive, non-mechanical toys.
In harmony with the toddler’s
passion for real work, children at West Hill Educare gain life skills
and a positive sense of themselves as members of a community through
participation: learning to care for themselves, each other, the classroom
materials and the world around them.