Celebrating 25 Years of Educating and Caring for Young Children.


The Young SchoolSM at King’s Contrivance Earns Full Accreditation from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)

10-3-08

Non-public schools in the state of Maryland are required to obtain an MSDE Certificate of Approval. The Young SchoolSM has held this Certificate of Approval for our four year old program since its opening.

The Young SchoolSM at King’s Contrivance is very proud to have recently received MSDE Accreditation, which applies to our Infant Care through Kindergarten. This is an exceedingly different procedure from the approval process. MSDE Accreditation is a process for evaluating the quality of an educational program for the purpose of educational program improvement. Two years ago, The Young SchoolSM at King’s Contrivance began this rigorous and voluntary process of self-study and program improvements, leading to the visit by a team of professionals to evaluate our school. The results were outstanding as our school received full accreditation, thanks to the hard work of our teachers, Cottage Directors and administration.

What makes The Young SchoolSM different?

The Young SchoolSM prides itself on being inspired by two innovative early childhood approaches of the highest standards: Reggio Emilia and RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers). Both approaches are founded on respect for young children and what they are capable of doing ~ in essence, a strong image of the young child from birth.

The Reggio Approach is a world-renowned educational approach that has captured the attention of educators all across the United States. The Reggio schools are located in Reggio Emilia, Italy, and serve infants through six year olds. High expectations are a hallmark of Reggio-inspired programs, where children are viewed as competent and capable of extraordinary accomplishments. The difference between our program and a more traditional preschool is this emphasis we place on the child as a competent individual with enormous potential.

The emphasis we place on the Reggio concept of the “environment as a third teacher,” also sets us apart from other more traditional programs. The physical environment of our programs is a key component that provides rich opportunities for independent exploration and learning. We guide children towards the purposeful use of materials and show that their work is highly valued by the care with which it is displayed. It is the children’s work that inspires teachers to extend learning opportunities within our flexible curriculum framework.

The Young SchoolSM has developed six foundation projects that provide a flexible curriculum framework throughout the year. These six projects were initially inspired by work seen in the schools of Reggio Emilia on a study tour in 2001, and have gradually become formalized over the years. The foundation projects are broad and provide many pathways for the type of in-depth exploration that encourages higher-level thinking skills in young children.

Documentation is another key component of the Reggio approach that remains a strong focus at The Young SchoolSM. Teachers take the time to document the children’s learning through photos, recording their thoughts, and close observation. These are offered back to the children to reflect upon and often used to launch new discussions and paths of discovery. Many times the documentation is used to create panels that follow a particular learning process or line of inquiry. This approach encourages young children to revisit their learning and build upon it in meaningful ways. It also provides families with a window into the learning that is happening in the cottage.

The Young SchoolSM has worked very hard to merge the Reggio and RIE approaches with the “best practices” that are recognized in the state of Maryland. The accreditation process helped us to more formally align state school-readiness standards with our own high standards and beliefs about young children. Receiving MSDE accreditation validated at top levels in the state that the philosophies that have helped build the school truly provide a higher standard of quality early education. The Young SchoolSM has also been validated in this approach over the past 10 years by the many families and children that have been an ongoing part of the journey. As we continue to move forward in the process with you and your child, we look forward to a joyful year of learning.

 

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