wisdom begins with wonder
"The child is not an empty being who owes whatever he knows to us who have filled him up with it. No, the child is the builder of man. There is no man existing who has not been formed by the child he once was."

-Maria Montessori

Our Program: An Early Foundation

We are a Reggio-inspired school where learning is gift-wrapped in joy. We build from a number of early learning philosophies with the powerful belief that being little is important, in and of itself; that children are inherently powerful, incredibly curious and capable of amazingly creative and complex thinking.

Using a child-centered approach, our curriculum is nature-based and explores monthly thematic units, such as Wild Wind or Busy Bugs, paired with activities that meet the Pennsylvania Early Learning standards. Our Reggio-inspired assessments communicate the progress children are making by telling the story of learning, or the process, rather than only the final finished work.

Through our education we are teaching skills, not content. We are raising little learners who can self-regulate, think independently, problem solve and get back up when they fall down. All classrooms across all age groups follow these approaches:

Loose Parts – Invitations to play:
“A net is a veil, a stick is a crutch for an injured soldier… today that is. Tomorrow… who knows?”

Loose parts possess infinite play possibilities. They offer multiple rather than single outcomes: no specific set of directions accompanies them; no single result is inevitable. Loose parts prompt children to create their own stories and develop skills to see things in new ways. Learn More

Conscious Discipline®
An evidence based social-emotional program that gives children the tools and loving guidance to develop self regulation from within. Children learn to resolve conflicts, express their needs, and manage their emotions enough to focus and learn. The Conscious Discipline® framework is used during morning meetings and afternoon wrap up, supporting peer interactions and emphasizing cooperative engagement. Learn More

Nature-based Learning
Nature-based learning is when experiences from the natural world inform our lessons, when disciplines like science, mathematical reasoning and language development are taught in the context of the natural world. For example we learn about resilience from the relentless woodpecker, about beginnings and endings from seasons and about symmetry from a starfish. Hallmarks of nature based learning are: regular time spent outdoors, natural elements brought into built environments that have natural light, encouraging children to make inquiries and discoveries about the world around them.

What are the benefits of nature-based learning?
Studies confirm what we intuitively know to be true—nature is good for kids. Incorporating nature improves academic achievement when compared with “traditional” instruction. Teachers report increased student engagement, critical thinking, and social skills. (Excerpt from “Take it Outside: Nature-based Education, NEEFusa.org)

The Aspen Grove infant program is rooted in the understanding that a nurturing environment and a close bond with teacher-caregivers form the basis for joyful development. There is a feeling of “home” as teacher-caregivers infuse the day with love, warmth and optimism. Here we follow a baby’s individual routine, ensuring that they nap, feed and play as they need to. Learn More

As with the other age groups, our toddler classrooms use Loose Parts
for invitations to play and Conscious Discipline® for social emotional development. Younger Toddlers move up to our Older Toddler program and Older Toddlers move up to our preschool program on the September following their birthday. Learn More

Our preschool and pre-K program builds Kindergarten readiness with a more structured approach to literacy, math, STEM and the arts. Learn More

Connection to Themselves
Connection to
Connection to Community

3 Key Connections

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Albert Einstein

3 Key Connections

“To raise a nature-bonded child
is to raise a rebel, a dreamer, an innovator… someone who will walk their own verdant, winding path.”

Nicolette Sowder

3 Key Connections

"It takes a village to raise a child"

African Proverb