Choosing a Preschool for your Child: A Parent Perspective
by Shawn McElroy
My wife and I were particularly interested in finding an early childhood program that went beyond academic checklists to support our three year old daughter’s critical thinking, problem solving, and creative skills. In the end we wanted a program consistent with our core values that supported the development of healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged children.
After hearing about our criteria, a local elementary school teacher suggested we visit the Overfield School in Troy. Immediately upon driving up Overfield’s driveway, we felt something different about the place. The school has been located in its beautiful setting on the hill since 1988. The front entry, adorned with student art and bright colors, includes a list of the daily activities displayed on an announcement board just inside the front door. Even more surprising is the environment encountered inside: It’s almost as if your 3- to 6-year old child joined the design team. Nearly every nook and cranny supports the intellectual, emotional and social development of participating students.
Students are seen as emerging leaders in this school that encourages discovery, problem solving, social interaction, and collaboration among children, parents and teachers. Learning occurs through project-oriented curriculum. Ideas for projects originate in the context of children’s lives and may spark from a chance event, an idea or a problem posed by a child, or a question issued by the teachers. For example, during the current school year the students are studying honey bees– how they live, what they do, and why they are important. As a part of this learning, the school has set up an apiary on campus.
The Overfield School — led by a team of teachers trained in the Reggio Emilia philosophy — is ready and eager to spark your child’s passion for lifelong learning. Anyone with young children (18 months through Kindergarten) should make the trip to the Overfield campus to explore this unique program.
For more information on The Overfield School go to http://www.overfield.org