"To educate and inspire young children with a curriculum that engages the interests and strengths of the children, their families, their teachers and the greater Cushman community."
Cushman’s curriculum, inspired by the teachers and community of Reggio-Emilia, is ever-changing to reflect the needs of the children and their families.
We create our curriculum around the children’s interests and experiences, building on the varied expertise that teachers and families bring to the classroom.
Children learn through investigations of topics that interest them- of plants, of outer space, of colors and light, of letters and words, to name just a few. Investigations may last a few hours, a few days, or several months, and may encompass art projects, reading and writing stories, outdoor exploration, field trips, sensory experiences, other materials, and exposure to areas the teachers find appropriate.
We work to help children develop the skills and understanding that they need to be life-long learners.
We do this through the children’s exploration of the world around them, using various materials, social interactions, and opportunities presented by the teachers. Core areas of our curriculum that play out across the investigations include an exploration of the environment, media, and relationships, careful attention to the varied languages of children: and a deep understanding of how children experience their environment.
We value the work of the children and their families.
At the heart of the Reggio-Emilia philosophy is collaboration. This integral feature of the philosophy speaks to the vision of our school. We focus on each child in relation to the other children, teachers, families, the larger community and the environment. Teachers channel the way the children learn from their environment and how they communicate this learning. We give careful consideration and attention to the way we present the thinking of the children and the adults who work with them.
Teachers document the classroom investigations through photographs, transcripts of student/teacher conversations, and representations of children’s thinking in many media. These details are composed in carefully designed panels or books to present the process of learning in the school, and are shared with families through in-school displays as well as materials sent home.
The educators at Cushman are committed to creating an exemplary social-emotional curriculum.
We dedicate a large portion of our professional development to this area. In doing so, we have discovered the Nurtured Heart Approach tm. Children are appreciated for their greatness, and guided through their days free of shame, blame, or punitive consequences. Ordinary moments are noticed and celebrated as wonderful successes. The positive relationships that we form with children, their families, and one another are essential to the well-being of our school.
Our teachers have backgrounds in varied fields, including fine arts, sociology, psychology, philosophy, elementary education, creative arts, and curriculum development.
Teacher’s individual specialties and interests are fostered and encouraged in the classroom, and they bring depth and focus to the children’s learning experiences. Teachers engage informal professional development throughout the year, and provide peer mentoring to each other through Cushman’s co-teacher model.
Families participate in the classroom, sharing their special interests, abilities, and hobbies with the children.
Families also engage with the school through varied opportunities for volunteer work that reflects many different skills and strengths. Some examples of family participation in the school have included sushi making, gardening, playground upkeep, and theater workshops.
Cushman sends it graduates into the world as eager learners, with an awareness of their own strengths and a respect of other’s differences.
The excitement, energy, and compassion that children display each day in the classroom never fails to engage and inspire the educators who are privileged to work with them.