Midtown Lutheran Preschool nurtures and educates children to be wholehearted, compassionate, principled individuals who contribute positively to the world community.
Our philosophy is driven by the beliefs that children:
- are curious, have an innate desire to learn, and can problem solve.
- are individuals who have an impact on, and are affected by, their environment.
- are whole beings made by God of mind, body, and spirit.
The primary early educational researchers to whom we look to guide our practice are constructivist theorists Jerome Bruner, John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, humanistic theorist Carl Rogers, and ecological theorist Urie Bronfenbrenner.
Constructivists believe that children learn best when they are able to explore their environment and construct their own knowledge. The more experiences they have, the more they are able to learn because new learning is based on prior knowledge. Teachers help set up activities that will help answer children's inquiries through discovery. This process encourages children to be curious and problem solve. Read more about constructivism here: http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/constructivism/
Humanists believe in the education of the whole child. Educators are to be facilitators as children have intentional needs to learn. The goal in a humanist classroom is to create an autonomous and fully-functioning individual. You can read some ideals of Carl Rogers here http://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html
Lastly, human ecological theorists believe that the child's environment affects development in very individual ways. There are many direct and indirect layers of a child's world and we need to consider these when guiding learning and emotional development. Read more about Urie Bronfenbrenner's ecological system here: http://daviddutch.com/eacnewsletter/january/page6.php
You will see our theory put into practice through an emergent, play and project based curriculum framework. There is always purpose in play and activities. You will see children grow and change as the teacher facilitates a curriculum (what is actually taught/facilitated) that will emerge based on a class' and individuals' interests and development.
Teaching at MTLPS is grounded in NAEYC's (National Association for the Education of Young Children; www.naeyc.org) guidelines for developmentally appropriate practices (DAP). We will also use Georgia's Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS; http://www.gelds.decal.ga.gov/) as a basic foundation for guidance in curriculum development.
The Project Approach, a constructivist based framework, will be layered on our long-term curriculum and learning. Projects typically take weeks to develop, create, and complete. They are a way to give students an experiential approach to learning in their world.
The Project Approach evolved from a desire to help students participate in and contribute to a democratic society. Studies indicate that democratic societies are more likely to flourish when citizens seek an in-depth understanding of the complex issues they must address and about which they must make choices and decisions. -http://www.projectapproach.org/theory.php
The Project Approach gives children academic knowledge together with life skills. It is an integrated way in which to learn; it connects aspects of educational discovery to concrete life topics and community.
Lastly, MTLPS is committed to the philosophy of the mind, body, spirit connection. We will strive to offer consistent enrichment activities to our students that will develop mindfulness and awareness of the whole self such as music, art, and movement (yoga, tai chi, dance).
There is an important verbiage and value shift in the early childhood community which moves us from the term "discipline" to "guidance." Early childhood researcher and educator, Dan Gartrell, defines guidance as "the commitment a teacher makes to teaching children how to solve their problems rather than punishing them for having problems they haven’t learned how to solve." [Gartrell, Dan. (2011) Q&A with Dan Gartrell. naeyc. Retrieved March 30, 2013, from http://www.naeyc.org/event/challenging-behaviors.]
At MTLPS we follow guidance standards of directing children when their natural behaviors and development create challenges. It is our goal to nurture and assist children to become independent thinkers and problem solvers. Children need adults to help teach them how to live life. We are the ultimate models and helpers to our children in both academic and emotional education.
At MTLPS our dual-language component is based on the belief that children learn best with natural and experiential instruction. Therefore, it is our goal to have multiple foreign language teachers who integrate themselves in the children's days through immersion teaching. For example, we will have our general education and language teachers will team plan so curriculum instruction/facilitation (science, math, calendar) will alternate in English and German. When our language teacher spends time with his/her assigned classes (centers time, recess, lunch) he/she will be conversing in German, not English. There will be specific language instruction lessons, but we feel a dual-language program is the most authentic way to incorporate a second language.
MTLPS incorporates values from an anti-bias perspective through our teaching. Anti-bias curriculum offers tools that provides ways to confront and eliminate barriers of prejudice, misinformation, and bias. You can read more, and download a chapter from Anti-Bias Education here: https://www.naeyc.org/content/anti-bias-guide-holidays
Enrollment at MTLPS is open to families regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, or family structure.