Our mission is to improve the quality of early childhood education by advancing developmentally appropriate practices through collaborative partnerships with school communities. Teaching Beyond the Square works with students, educators, parents and policy makers - in both public and private schools - to create educational experiences that are more playful, engaging and equitable for all children.
Children Are Capable
Children are innately curious. They bring their experiences, ideas, and questions to bare the moment they walk through the door. They naturally explore their surroundings in order to learn about their world and when given the chance - they are deeply motivated and self-directed learners.
Teachers Are Collaborators
We see teachers not as mere providers of knowledge but as fellow researchers. Teachers create their curriculum by collecting observations and posing questions to the children. By respecting the voice of each child and elevating the role of the teacher, a class can achieve a real sense of purpose and accomplishment through collaboration.
Learning Is Dynamic
Learning is an active process that should foster problem solving and creative thought. The use of open-ended materials should incite imagination not just instruction. Through the constant exchanging of ideas and the documentation of that process, children learn to look at projects and problems from different perspectives. It is then through reflection that children can fully appreciate and solidify their understanding.
Environments Should Inspire
Classrooms - and the materials that inhabit them - are an invitation. Whether they feel loud and didactic or warm and reflective of the child’s perspective, they set the tone for a classroom community. It is through a sense of clarity and beauty that humans feel the ease to take risks and express themselves as they dare to learn and try things they have never done before.
Play Is Essential
Play is at the heart of a child’s learning. It is how they most naturally interact with the world, friends and family. Play is the vehicle that allows the mind and heart to engage, listen, communicate, negotiate, problem solve and imagine possibilities. Without a sense of play, we lose the joy of learning and the lifelong benefits that perspective brings. Practically speaking, it is the most efficient and effective way to engage and educate children.
photos by Kristin Eno