SOCP is a developmental preschool, which means we believe all children are unique and that children grow and change at different rates. We strive to meet each child where s/he is on the developmental continuum, honoring their individual interests and learning styles to inform our teaching. SOCP is a play-based preschool, which means we believe that young children learn best when given many opportunities for open-ended, free play. A play-based environment enables children to gain self-understanding, expand creative expression, build essential problem-solving skills, connect with peers and explore the world around them while developing the foundational social and emotional skills essential to success in life. SOCP is child-centered/child-directed, which means that children are active participants in determining the direction of learning. We are attuned to the children’s interests as well as to external factors, which may grab their attentions and imaginations. We provide hands-on curriculum and encourage a ‘can-do’ outlook. We value kindness and seek to model and build empathy in the children. We believe that educating children is best accomplished in partnership with parents. Staff and parents act as facilitators and guides in the students’ active learning. We value the process of learning over the product.
Understand the basic philosophies of Reggio Emilia
The Image of the Child
Adults see each child as unique, strong and full of potential. The child’s role in the classroom is to construct their knowledge and develop skills through exploration, self-expression and collaborations with their teachers and peers.
As a means of enhancing their creative, social and cognitive development, a wide array of creative media and activities are introduced. These help children represent their ideas and emotions through many “languages,” including spoken and written words, visual arts, drama, movement and more.
Education Based on Interaction and Collaboration
Education is experienced as a continuous interaction between those involved in the school community. Collaboration takes place between teachers and children, children and peers, teachers and other teachers, teachers and families, and the school and the community. All are important in the educational process.
The Project Approach
The children learn through cooperating with other children and their teachers in long-term projects based on children’s interests and the use of creative arts as central features of the program. Projects follow the children’s interests, curiosity and understandings, and support the children’s development as problem-solvers.
The Importance of Time
Projects and activities are not fragmented; rather they build upon one another over time, as the children “re-visit” their original work and ideas, refining them further through new experiences, activities and forms of expression. Time is also important in building sustaining, collaborative relationships.
The Role of the Teacher: Teacher as Partner
The teacher is a partner in learning with the child. The teacher’s role is to act as resource, provocateur and partner in learning with the children. Children’s work, play and discussions are documented through notes, photos, tape recordings and videos. These are carefully reviewed by the teachers and guide their curriculum and project decisions based on the children’s interests, ideas and developmental readiness to acquire new skills.
The Role of Parents
Parents are active participants in the activities of the school and in children’s projects. Parents are welcomed into the school and collaborate with teachers. They give of their time and serve as advocates for the school in the community.
The Role of the Environment
Through conscious use of space, color, natural light, attractive and appropriate learning materials and displays of children’s work, the environment is another teacher and is inviting to children, teachers, families, and visitors.
Dr. Rosalyn Saltz, UM-Dearborn 1994
The heart of Sherman Oaks Cooperative Preschool. Our preschool program is centered around the philosophy that children learn through play, that a strong community of children and adults uplift us all, and that nature is critical is growing independent, kind, and creative children.