Wildwood Children’s School (Second Campus)

Wildwood Children’s School is our second campus and located in the neighborhoods of Grand Avenue and Piedmont.  Our neighborhood is utilized as an extension of the classroom by regular visits to a local redwood grooves (AKA the rain forest named by the children) and Rose Garden for play and appreciation of nature and beauty.

Wildwood Children’s School
8 Wildwood Avenue
Oakland Ca 94610
510 922 9197
Facility License #013422034
Email: [email protected]
Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM Monday to Friday

“I believe finally, that education must be conceived as a continuing reconstruction of experience; that the process and the goal of education are one and the same thing.”

-John Dewey

Wildwood children’s school is a Reggio Emilia inspired school employing the socio-constructivist view of education in which children are learning by doing rather than receiving facts from the teachers passively.

Our Emergent Curriculum is a way of teaching and learning that requires teachers to observe and listen to the children. Teachers ask questions and listen for the children’s ideas, hypotheses and theories; we are curious about the children’s fascination and why they are engaged? What are they exploring and how? Based on their observations, teachers will discuss, interpret, compare, and reflect on the children’s insights, and then collaboratively plan and solicit inquiries into a long-term project. These projects are designed with an understanding the teachers’s role is a co-learner while assisting the children in their discovery and exploration.

John Dewey, American Educational Philosopher, challenged the traditional view of the student as a passive recipient of knowledge (and the teacher as the transmitter of a static body of facts). He argued instead for active experiences that prepare students for ongoing learning about a dynamic world. As Dewey pointed out, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” More recently, an Emergent Curriculum program is interchangeably used with Reggio Emilia’s approach and has been attracting international interest with their emphasis on art and a poetic appreciation on an individual child’s expression and aesthetic sensibility in environment.

Listed below are 6 important elemental concepts that set the foundation for our educational approach. 

  1. The image of a child
  2. The Environment as a third teacher
  3. Documentation
  4. Expressive Arts (the Hundred Languages of children)
  5. Role of the teacher – Teachers as co-learners
  6. Project Based Learning


The Image of children: The Reggio Emilia’s model is a child-led approach, in which children construct their own learning while the teachers assist the children in their discovery, investigation and research. Driven by their own interests and curiosity, children will construct their own knowledge and ideas through discovery.  Therefore, our teachers’ role is one of assisting this process of discovery and exploration by providing an engaging environment for learning.


The Environment as the 3rd Teacher: In an Reggio Emilia inspired school the environment is the 3rd teacher, which means the classroom itself serves as a teacher, which we call, ‘the 3rd teacher’. 

As teachers, our goal is to establish a spacious, clutter-free classroom full of engaging activities, authentic materials, and natural lighting, encouraging the children to explore, discover, and interact with the environment. In a well designed classroom, children intuitively and naturally interact with their environment, fiercely engaging their hands and minds with a playful awareness of new tools, materials and experiences. At WCS, we encourage all the wonderful and different ways children are engaged by seeing, making, and talking about what they have observed, pondered, and expressed.


Documentation: In a Reggio-inspired setting, there is a great emphasis on making learning visible by recording its process.  Teachers will consistently use a variety of documentation methods such as cameras, journals, tape recorders, drawings, and sculptures to record the process of discovery and exploration, describing how the children arrived at their answers and how they researched their hypothesis.

This Documentation process serves as the basis for refection, a vital part to the reconstruction of knowledge and it is shared with the community.


Expressive Art and The Hundred Languages of Children

Through expressive art and representational art we draw insights into children’s minds, supporting and expanding the complex unfolding of their experiences. There are hundreds of languages in their expression; in stories, drawings, makings, painting. They are all wonderfully different and a direct expression of their freedom and imagination.  What they do with these materials is not a goal oriented art-product per se; in the view of Reggio educators, the children’s use of materials is not a separate part or product of the curriculum but an integral part of the whole cognitive, symbolic, and expressive process of learning. 

The Studio teacher (or Atelierista) works closely with other teachers and the children through the Studio, an intentional space containing materials and tools to pursue thinking and concepts. In addition to the larger Studio, Mini-Studios are found in every classrooms.

The Role of the Teacher

The image of the child shapes the role of the teacher and involves four major components. Teachers are:

Co-constructors; engaged as partners, guides, nurturer, problem solvers, learners, hypothesize

Researchers; observing, learning, revisiting the topic with the children.

Documenters; listening, recording, displaying, revisiting.

Advocates for children; involved in the community, politics relating to children, speaking for children’s needs and presenting work to other educators and community members.

Project Based Learning: the role of time and importance of continuity.

At WCS we believe learning and life are inseparably tied to each other.  We learn by doing, engaging the organic process of inquiry and exploring.  Integration of new discoveries and experiences is a complex process requiring time, patience, and continuity.

Our project ideas often come from the experiences of the children and teachers, from a chance event or problem posed. These can last from a few days to several months. By exploring their interests through these projects, children are allowed to take risks, explore, express and create meaningful connections about themselves and the world around them.  And by actively following-through the cycle of inquiry, the children investigations and discoveries are reinforced by their own familiarity and awareness.

Certified Wildlife Habitat

This property provides the four basic habitat elements needed for wildlife to thrive: food, water, cover, and a place to raise young.