Age range: 1-2 years
Our Classroom Intentions:
We will nurture the children’s growing sense of themselves and their curiosity about the world around them. We will focus on the thinking and ideas of the children. Emerging interests and questions will guide our project work as the children continue to realize the power of their growing language and communication capabilities. We will foster the loving relationships that are blossoming and model what it means to be part of a strong community of learners. We will be supportive partners with our parents. We will exchange stories, insights, ideas, and skills.
Rachel Jefferson, Lead Teacher
Infant-Toddler Continuum Lead Teacher
While I was growing up, my father’s job had our family moving quite often. We lived in many cities in both the U.S. and Canada. I experienced many different kinds of schools, homes, and social settings and learned to adjust to my surroundings. After high school in St. Louis, MO, I headed to Des Moines, IA and got my degree in education at Drake University. I also met my sweetheart Josh and once I finished school, we were ready for adventures! We knew that we were looking for a new place to call home and we were both drawn to the west coast and all of its natural beauty. After a visit to some friends in Eugene (also excellent travel guides), we moved here 2 months later in June of 2000. I experienced a variety of jobs before I read the ad for a Lead Teacher position at the Co-op Family Center. I had learned about the Reggio Emilia philosophy in college and had always felt drawn to its respectful approach to teaching and learning. I became the School Age Teacher at the Co-op in 2002 and had my first child that next summer. After four years in the School-age classroom, my request was granted to try working in the younger rooms. I now feel that I have found my ‘home’ in so many aspects of my life including my work as a teacher. With the birth of our daughter, we also felt a kind of completeness within our family as well. We love living in Eugene and enjoy soaking up the good music, sports, amazing hikes, and positive energy that this city has to offer!!!
I believe that all children have the right to learn and grow in an environment that is safe, welcoming, respectful, and inspiring; a place where they are encouraged to explore with all of their senses. A place where there are endless chances to create their own ideas and test their theories about the world around them in ways that are meaningful to them.
I believe that children must have opportunities to learn from each other, as well as the time and space to experience things independently. Whenever possible, they should determine the pace and direction of the exploration at hand. We should honor their processes of wonder and discovery through a flexible curriculum that supports the spectrum of learning styles within that particular group of children; a curriculum that focuses on their capabilities, their growing autonomy, and their amazing potential. We need to observe, and then nurture, the physical, intellectual, creative, social, and emotional aspects of each child. We should look at the child as a whole person and as a cherished member of our community.
As teachers, I believe that we must strive to help children build a positive image of both themselves and others. This can happen through daily moments of collaboration, negotiation and connection with their peers, teachers, and family members. Strong and trusting relationships are central to the success of the learning community and also to promoting open communication and a desire to understand each other. We should be partners with the parents and try involving them in our experience as much as possible.
I believe in the importance of close observation, careful documentation, and thoughtful reflection of the learning that is happening every day. When teachers step back and slow down, there is a chance to notice something new. Not just what is going on, but possibly how and why something is happening a certain way. If we consider the thinking behind the actions of the children, we can start to recognize what motivates children to learn. This, in turn, should help guide teachers in how to best support children in communicating their ideas and questions.
I believe that the experience of learning with children is one of infinite joy, challenge, and possibility. It is a treasured opportunity and a huge responsibility. It is a role that influences both the present and future state of our world and I am forever grateful to play an active part in this dynamic process.