Brooklyn Schoolhouse is founded on the conviction that children have an innate desire to explore, play and learn and are naturally competent and capable learners. It’s easy to see if we look. Think of how they study the way kitchen magnets stick, problem solve to climb trees or instinctively collect rainwater. Children simply can’t not learn. This is why we are a place of engagement, discovery, wonderment, and aliveness. We aim to foster global citizens – ones who embrace coexistence and are inspired and empowered to fulfill their dreams and take responsibility for the sustainability of the planet. (All while splish-splashing in the water buckets they fill.)
We believe in inquiry-based learning. (“I just saw an ant. Where do ants live?”) In this style of learning, each curriculum emerges from the children’s interests and questions. Rather than teaching children about subjects, we help children experience the joy and satisfaction that come with learning. (Big grins upon hearing how an ant can carry 50x its body weight – like a child carrying a cow or bear.) Curricula and projects emerge from children's interests and are developed and deepened with the teachers' guidance. The goal is that children experience the exciting and empowering process of discovery and learning and develop a love of learning.
As each curriculum evolves, we encourage children to think creatively, investigate their questions, and build new understandings.
This kind of education builds collaboration skills and social responsibility and fosters creativity and ingenuity. These are the skills that will empower young people to fulfill their dreams and take responsibility for the sustainability and improvement of the world.
For more, visit the Emergent Curriculum page.
Our School Values
Joy and excitement are the lifeblood of the learning process; joy is a natural part of the experience of building understandings.
Sandcastles. Spins. Somersaults. Play is an important and uniquely personal medium for children to think and reflect, test their theories and ideas, practice, and build understandings about themselves, their community, and their world. It is an integral part of human development and growth.
RESPECT & EMPOWERMENT
Our philosophy and approach places an enormous respect on each child. It encourages her or his unique processes of learning and discovery, and taking ownership of one's learning.
WONDERMENT IN NATURE AND
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WORLD
Did you know that trees communicate? They exchange information, as well as nutrients and water, via underground networks. We help children to experience wonderment in and love for the natural world and to build an understanding the we are a small and important part of a great interconnected universe. We aim to foster global citizens who embrace coexistence and are inspired and empowered to fulfill their dreams and take responsibility for the sustainability of the planet.
COMMUNITY & EMPATHY
Say Good Morning to our friends. Read together. Use kind, nonjudgmental words and always offer repairs if someone feels hurt. It is our mission to foster in children the qualities we strive for in community: openness, respect and responsibility, capability, with an emphasis on empathy and helping others.
More on the Fundamentals of our Teaching Practice
The Learning Environment
We believe that the physical environment plays a crucial role in the learning that takes place. We take great care to set up the classroom environment and provide materials to continually “speak” to the children’s interests and curiosities, and to provoke deeper thinking and cognitive growth. . If they are loving waterways, a fish tank might appear in the class the next day. If questions about buses are arising, books about the NYC subway might take over the book shelves.
We set up the classroom with all necessary materials like blocks, books, and paints to support and expand the interests and learning opportunities of the children. We collect recycled and found materials for open-ended use in the classroom. The children use the materials in unique and repurposed ways for creating process art, and in dramatic play. Think: pinecones as sea urchins. We believe in providing open-ended materials for play because it requires inventive thinking and enriches creativity. At Brooklyn Schoolhouse the environment is planned with care to inspire creative thinking and cognitive growth.
At Brooklyn Schoolhouse we believe in inquiry-based learning. In this style of learning, each curriculum emerges from the children’s interests and questions. Teachers listen closely and carefully to children and start to formulate questions about what children’s high-interest areas might be. Teachers respond to children’s interests by providing classroom possibilities for the emergent curriculum to develop over time. The children learn how to collaborate, build knowledge, and remain invested in the learning process. Oftentimes, they’ll continue their learning at home – using the bathroom sink as a lab for what floats or sinks, for instance.
When children learn how to build knowledge and skills in this way, they also learn to enjoy the exciting process of working towards accomplishing their goals.
Reggio Emilia Approach
Our philosophy and pedagogy is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. In this innovative educational approach, respect for children is paramount. Children are granted an active role in guiding the direction of their learning experience. They are encouraged to explore their world through diverse mediums, and to collaborate with one another and their teachers on extended projects.