The philosophical approach at
West Hill Educare is based on the Educaring® Approach developed
by Magda Gerber under the name Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE™.
is a relationship-based approach rooted in a foundation of respect for
children. Knowing that children learn best through exploration, we encourage
them to be independent learners. We invite each child to be an active
participant in her own care and offer her choices for activity. Parallel
to supporting the development of individual skills, we recognize the
equally important human inclination towards interdependence and foster
a sense of belonging among all members of our community.
Our day is grounded by a structure
of consistent routines and expectations which serve to facilitate the
child’s basic sense of trust in the world. Within this context,
each child gains a sense of himself as an individual while learning
to negotiate socially. As he listens to and “reads” other
people, he learns to express his own ideas and solve problems in a kind
and sensitive manner.
During the second and third years
of life, young children experience incredible growth. Around the time
of their first birthday, children enjoy increased mobility and are striving
to master their new-found ability to walk. As the second year progresses
they gain increased coordination and refinement of both large and fine
motor movements. Children start to show an interest in doing things
for themselves and are eager to get their hands on things and smell,
taste, touch, look and listen as they manipulate items to explore their
At WHE we support these great
steps in development with daily observation to assure that our environment
and routine works for the members of our community. Similarly, the interested
child watches. She gains understanding and integrates information when
she observes and interacts with the people and environment around her.
Through activity and her own observation, her mind is engaged. At this
time it is critical that she has loving, kind models to emulate.
As a social person, the one and
two year-old child is eager to gain language and communicative competence.
He attempts to model the language and behaviors of the adults and children
he spends time with. Accordingly the educarer’s role is that of
a model and facilitator. At WHE we model the behavior we want children
to acquire and our language with children is positive and encouraging.
We choose materials that help
young children gain real information. Items are presented on low, open
shelves in an uncluttered manner that enables children to see clearly
what is available and invites them to independently choose their activity.
We encourage active children to play with passive, non-mechanical toys.
In harmony with the toddler’s
passion for real work, children at West Hill Educare gain life skills
and a positive sense of themselves as members of a community through
participation: learning to care for themselves, each other, the classroom
materials and the world around them.