Philosophy of EducatioN
Active Child Participation
At Jack & Jill our goal is to guide our students to become active participants in the learning process. We ascribe to the theory that young child learn best in a play-based environment. To that end, we offer an interactive playgroup for children ages 20-30 months old at our Gramercy Park Campus (61 Gramercy Park North at East 21st Street) and a separate preschool program for children ages 2.5 to 5.5 years old. Our focus is on the whole child. We want each child to focus on the process as opposed to the end product. Accordingly, we employ a “hand-on” approach in our curriculum so that children are involved in every step of the learning process. Our faculty uses positive reinforcement to support the children in the learning process. Children proceed at their own pace in an individualized program which includes letter and number experimentation in an early literacy curriculum, a rich science program, story time, art, music and movement, and Spanish classes. In a sequential manner, students develop and build a variety of skills as they learn to make their own choices and become more confident in their capabilities.
We emphasize cooperation in work and play and encourage children to develop a sense of caring for each other as well as a sense of responsibility for their own actions. We strive to create a community of mutual respect for the various traditions of our diverse Jack & Jill family. Each school year we host three Family Holiday Services where we come together as a community to celebrate our varied traditions and shared values.
The Jack and Jill School uses a variety of teaching techniques and modalities to serve the range of styles of learning we see in each classroom. We recognize the sequential development of skills and allow the time to experiment with ideas and materials. Classrooms are organized with a daily schedule so that each day there are opportunities for children to work individually or in small groups and sometimes with a teacher in guided play. Classroom curriculum is child-directed. Accordingly, teachers create their curriculum based upon the interests of their students.
Teachers utilize positive discipline in the classroom to create a classroom community. The teachers acknowledge children's efforts to share, cooperate, and listen often, and, employ reminders and redirection when necessary.
Acknowledging children's efforts encourages the development of the inner motivation within each child. The ability to persevere and work through challenges, to have patience and appreciate the hard work of practice and repetition is visible in all children do, whether building in the block area, completing a puzzle or learning to write their name. Teacher support encourages each child to see themselves as ever more capable.
Each classroom organizes its curriculum around various topics or units of study. This creative and integrated curriculum allows children to spend time gaining understanding of various concepts while working on small motor, dramatic play and art projects. Children can enter the topic through an avenue which suits them most comfortably and then expand their experiences over time. Our goal is to help children diversify in their activities and become more global thinkers as they compare, contrast and begin to generalize and hypothesize about their experiences.
Global thinking and problem solving are encouraged in all the classrooms. Children use their own experiences to relate to new information. Conversation is the basic classroom ingredient. All classes include field trips as part of their curriculum.
A sense of joint responsibility shared by parents and teachers is vital to a successful preschool program. Upon request, the director or group teacher is available to discuss the progress and needs of a child. Formal conferences are scheduled each November and March. Parents are encouraged to be in close contact with the school.