Bernadette states that we’re not just “using” the philosophy at our centre, rather “it’s at the core of everything we do.” The child is at the centre of everything we do and every decision we make has to take into consideration the image of the child. Each child and staff member are valued for their ideas and contributions and what they bring to the environment.
Bernadette states that “there’s a huge deficit of nature when it comes to our children today. They’re not outside enough but yet, it’s a wonderful opportunity for learning. But, if you think about it, a lot of families may be nervous, especially with a newborn of the concept of having children outdoors.” At Atelier Kids, their Forest School removes the barriers from families around the concept of “the outdoors and young children”. Atelier Kids educates families on the importance and safety measures they take in their programs as well as how they remain prepared when the class is outside all day every day.
While many centres may call themselves “Reggio-inspired”, this is often just the beginning process in order to incorporate the full Reggio Emilia philosophy into everything a child care centre does in order for it to become the focal point. At Atelier Kids, they have an Atelierista and Pedagogista. The Atelierista is responsible for working with the educators and children to incorporate in-depth projects and journeys where children are learning. The Pedagogista is responsible for ensuring that Atelier Kids takes all of the elements of Reggio Emilia philosophy and all of the other philosophies that are present at Atelier Kids and ensuring that it fits the community.
Another key element that Atelier Kids has implemented is ensuring that children who are off to a traditional school setting are prepared for their next chapter. Atelier Kids’ kindergarten program ensured that children were ready by instilling a love for learning and showing diversity in the classroom and showing that their voices were heard regardless of their age.
Bernadette mentions a Ted Talk by the late Sir Ken Robinson as an excellent discussion for creating an education system that nurtures children rather than undermines their creativity. As well, she praises the book “The Visionary Director, Second Edition: A Handbook for Dreaming, Organizing, and Improvising in Your Center” as a goldmine for all directors and owners Want to learn more about Atelier Kids and their philosophy and resources? Check out their blog which is full of educational resources for educators and families and their Instagram to stay up to date with all of the exciting happenings on site!