By taking advantage of the green spaces in the Parkallen community whenever possible, Green Circle students have an opportunity to play and learn in nature while still receiving a creative preschool experience that emphasizes intellectual, emotional, social, and physical development through participation and self-directed play.
Each day at Green Circle follows a routine, but the learning and play activities are typically unstructured. Children choose their own activities, including water and sand play, arts and crafts, math and writing games, puzzles, carpentry, dramatic play, blocks, and toys. Group activities, such as snack time, outdoor free play, stories, and songs, allow the children to work on their socialization skills while playing and interacting with each other. Activities, classroom setup, and toys change every two weeks according to the theme.
A parent co-operative involves parents in the education of their children and with the day-to-day tasks of the classroom. By rotating the jobs that need to be done, parents are able to help keep Green Circle the unique learning environment that it has been since its conception. Preschool programs are more successful when parents participate. This remains true throughout a child’s education and is one of the most consistent predictors of school achievement and success.
Co-operative preschools let you share your child’s education firsthand. They also give you an opportunity to be part of an inclusive community that shares your interests and educational goals. Historically, the philosophy behind co-operative preschools is based on the importance of parental involvement, developmentally appropriate programs, and social, emotional, and cognitive skill-building by learning through play.
Parents do not have to be in the classroom every single day, but it is important that they are able to assist when it is their turn. Preschools like Green Circle work in part because our parents eagerly share the work with one another. This isn’t exclusive to the classroom itself, either. There are many roles, such as making playdough or helping with laundry, that come together to make Green Circle the amazing, unique learning experience that it is.
In simple terms, nature-based learning is learning through nature and unstructured outdoor play. Research shows that by playing in nature, children grow up more active and more focused. By playing outside for an hour each day, children stimulate their curiosity and, in turn, their cognitive development, association skills, memory retention, and physical abilities.