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UNF Preschool

Reggio Emilia Philosophy and Project Based Learning Approach

Motivated to become the premier leader of early childhood education in Northeast Florida and center for early childhood teacher professional development, the UNF Preschool follows a Reggio-inspired inquiry-based model of learning with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) education. Children will experience a high-quality project and play-based curriculum that cultivates literacy, numeracy, creativity, problem-solving and social and emotional skills necessary for the development of the whole child. The STEAM focus, includes hands-on nature experiences coupled with arts integration (visual arts, dance, drama, music and media arts) as important curricular components of the children's daily learning experiences. This approach generates rich meaningful learning across disciplines within the classroom allowing young children to explore, question, research, discover, and develop innovative skills. These skills will lay the foundation for later success in school and life. 

The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education draws from the ideas and theories of many great theorists, yet the fundamental philosophy serving to guide this approach is more than an elective mix of theories. The theory, drawing from Italy over 30 years ago has been defined into the unique image of the child. Within the Reggio Emilia approach, the fundamental belief on which the image of the child is constructed is that of the child having rights rather than simply needs. At the UNF Preschool, we believe that every child is beheld as beautiful, powerful, competent, creative, curious, and full of potential and ambitious desires. Moreover, the critical belief that the child possesses rights is the foundation on which the Reggio Emilia approach is built, and the following highlight the philosophy of the preschool:

  1. The Child as an Active Constructor of Knowledge. At the UNF Preschool, we believe that the child is understood as having an innate desire to discover, learn, and make sense of the world. Within the Reggio Emilia approach, the child is viewed not as a target of instruction, but rather as having an active role, working alongside others in the discovery and construction of solutions to meaningful questions and problems. Learning is not something that is done to the child, but rather something the child does.
  2. The Child as a Researcher. At the UNF Preschool, the role of the child as a researcher takes place within the context of projects or in-depth studies of a particular project. This year, we have created vegetable and flower gardens, conducted service-learning projects, and discovered different mediums of using paint and art. While engaging in a project, children have the opportunity to explore, observe, question, discuss, hypothesize, represent and then proceed to test their own reasoning.
  3. The Child as a Social Being. At the UNF Preschool, we place a strong emphasis on children's social construction of knowledge through their relationships. Working with their peers and with their teachers, we believe that children can create knowledge from each other.

Creative Curriculum

For nearly 40 years, Teaching Strategies has believed that the best and most powerful way to improve child outcomes is through effective teaching.

And that's why we've created forward-thinking, comprehensive, research-based and research-proven curriculum resources. These help teachers and caregivers to be their most effective, while still honoring their creativity and respecting their critical role in making learning exciting and relevant for every child.

Our supportive curriculum solutions are used by early childhood educators across the country, helping them provide children with developmentally appropriate programs that support active learning and promote progress in all developmental areas.

The Creative Curriculum®

The Creative Curriculum is research-based and supports the development of the whole child. High-quality, comprehensive resources empower educators to intentionally teach and care for our youngest learners during the most critical and formative years of development.

The Creative Curriculum® is…

  • Innovative: delivering cutting-edge resources that are unique, effective, and based on the latest research.
  • Responsive: including solutions that address educators' challenges and help create a responsive learning environment.
  • Supportive: providing robust guidance to support each educator's professional journey.
  • Comprehensive: aligning to all state early learning guidelines and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework
  • Developmentally Appropriate: promoting learning experiences designed for each age-group and flexibly tailored to each child's needs with high-quality, research-based resources.

Teaching Strategies GOLD

The authentic, ongoing, observation-based assessment system that helps teachers and administrators focus on what matters most for children's success.

Grounded in our 38 research-based objectives for development and learning, GOLD® supports effective teaching and assessment, while providing teachers more time to spend with the children in the program. Accessed through MyTeachingStrategies™, GOLD® automatically links teaching and assessment, making it easier to connect the dots across the most important aspects of high-quality early childhood education.

With GOLD®, teachers can:

  • Use a variety of online tools to gather and organize meaningful data quickly, including online portfolios where children's work can be stored
  • Create a developmental profile of each child to answer the questions, "What does this child know? What is he or she able to do?" that can be used to scaffold each child's learning
  • Generate comprehensive reports that can be customized easily and shared with family members and other stakeholders.

Supplemental Curriculum: Conscious Discipline

Conscious Discipline is a comprehensive emotional intelligence and classroom management system that integrates all domains of learning (social, emotional, physical, cultural and cognitive) into one seamless curriculum. Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based comprehensive program that utilizes everyday events rather than an external curriculum, and addresses the adult's emotional intelligence as well as the child's. Teachers learn to respond to daily conflict in a way that transforms it into an opportunity to teach critical life skills, and watch every aspect of their classroom life improve! Conscious Discipline is evidence-based, and was named as a national model for character education by the Florida State Legislature.