Child-Centered Nature-based Curriculum

The learning environment at the Oakland Garden School (OGS) is free from frustration and pressure. Teachers utilize a child-focused emergent curriculum immersed in nature, and treat each child with affection, comfort, and understanding. While some content is determined by teachers, the interests of children guide the content of lessons and projects, thus multiple intelligence of all children are reflected in the curriculum. This empowering approach builds both self-esteem and a positive attitude toward learning.Reggio Emilia inspired School. Positive Decline and constructivist approach. Mindfulness and Environmental Education.

3 Key Curriculum Points

A Reggio Emilia inspired School with the emphasis on Emergent approach:

We believe the creativity of each child is nourished through their exploration with play-inducing natural materials. Our classroom environment is set up to provoke imagination and curiosity. The children discover the world around them through open ended play. The teachers’ observations of the children’s play lead to inquiries and hypothesis of the children that both the teachers and the children collaborate to explore through critical thinking and research.

Positive Discipline and constructivist approach:

We support each young child’s social emotional intelligence with a positive discipline approach. We believe all children desire to be a part of community and want to be connected with their peers. Therefore rather than punishment-reward based approach, we practice the positive discipline approach to cultivate sense of empathy and fairness and empowering the children with social skills. The children are encouraged to use feeling words to express oneself respectfully to others and practice the problem solving skills in their social interactions with peers.

Mindfulness and Environmental Education:

Mindfulness education is the basis for how we do everything at school. The children are introduced to what it looks like when we respect the environment, care for materials , resourcefulness, and show kindness to others. The children become active environmentalist as they participate in energy conservation, mending books and toys, and practicing recycling and reuse. Through an environmentally sensible education, the children learn to respect all living things as we all make positive changes in an era of our fragile climate.

How do we achieve an unforgettable learning experience and memorable childhood?

Students at OGS will explore their environment through taste, smell, touch, hearing, and sight. Quite simply, we believe the greater the range of sensory input, the greater the physiological activity and growth in the brain that will occur.

At OGS, children will spend more time in nature and in natural settings rather than being surrounded by pre-made artificial materials. Their surroundings are thoughtfully designed to stimulate environmental consciousness and creativity.

At OGS, children will experience organic gardening, cooking, and eating; as well as learn to recycle and compost during activities. The pre-school curriculum will include art, reading/literacy, discovery/science, and dramatic play. Children will also participate in a carpentry program, nature study, and in experiences that nurture love for animals. All these learning experiences will be shaped so as to stimulate a keen sensory awareness in children that will become the foundation for greater curiosity, versatility, learning, and joy.

Because people learn the most basic and essential values during their earliest years, we will partner with parents to foster these values in our children. We will actively provide opportunities to develop empathy, an attitude of collaboration and community, resourcefulness, and respect for difference. Most importantly, we will constantly model these traditional core values.

At OGS, we also create a curriculum that pays close attention to the many different ways in which children learn and to the diverse abilities and talents that they bring. We will individuate instruction and teach to the multiple types of intelligence to which all good educators must attend. Finally, because all children learn best through experiences and fun, all learning will be play-based and hands-on.