- Decision-making reflects a commitment to equity
- Children construct knowledge from diverse experiences to make meaning of the world
- Play is an essential element of young children’s learning
- Instruction is personalized to acknowledge each child’s development and abilities
- The teacher is a guide, nurturing presence, and co-constructor of knowledge
- Young children and adults learn through relationships
- The environment is intentionally designed to facilitate children’s exploration, independence, and interaction
- The time of childhood is valued
- Continuous learning environments support adult development
Principles of Ideal Learning
Drawing from the strength of world-renowned early childhood approaches including Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Friends Center for Children, Tools of the Mind, Bank Street College of Education, and Waldorf, these principles outline core concepts that form the foundation of quality early education or “ideal learning.” They allow for multiple approaches, models, and traditions, and take into account the varied contexts within which early educators and care providers work. Several essential beliefs weave throughout, including a commitment to play, relationship-based interactions, an ecologically-focused, child-centered perspective; equity; and a strength-based and inquiry-based approach with children, adults and families. Together, they balance principles of attachment and independence that are meaningful for young children’s development.
Ideal Learning in Principle and Practice
This resource contains more detail about each principle of ideal learning, profiles of eight distinctive approaches — All Our Kin, Bank Street College of Education, Friends Center, HighScope, Tools of the Mind, Montessori, Reggio Emilia-Inspired, and Waldorf — and more information about the New Haven Children’s Ideal Learning District (NH ChILD).
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Thank you for everything you do to create ideal learning environments for the children you work with. Please join us to stay connected!