The Purpose of Our Beginning is “To nourish the palates of children and to nurture their minds, health, and souls and all who we can influence throughout the world.”
Our Beginning is a Reggio Emilia inspired child care center and education program. Understanding that Reggio Emilia is reflective of the community, the people and the culture it is grounded in, Our Beginning’s Reggio Emilia is unique to its own. Children are born competent and capable. Learning is a process based on the child’s interests guided by teachers and enhanced by the environment. We offer education services to the children with our teachers focused on listening to the children, observing their behavior and interactions, and documenting this process so that learning is visible and effective. It is play and project based learning diving deep in to the minds, hearts and desires of children.
The assignment of Our Beginning is to provide within an eco-friendly environment, nutritionally sound meals, integrated wellness activities and educational programming that is researched based and grounded in three philosophical approaches: Reggio Emilio, Lulu Martin, and Cultural Competency.
It is envisioned that children, families, and employees, as a result of experiencing Our Beginning, will become confident, creative, and health conscious self-actualized beings.
In the Atelier – The meaning of Atelier is “workshop” where children in all age groups are invited in weekly to experience the arts with the art teacher also known as the Atelierista. The Atelierista provides unique and special provocations or projects that relate to the interest areas of the children. The materials provided by the Atelierista are often times unique and new to the children. The educators join the children being able to document the experiences in the Atelier and then are able to build upon it in the classroom.
The Languages of Food - Our Beginning has a USDA certified organic kitchen serving breakfast, lunch and 2 snacks at no additional cost to the families since it opened its doors in 2010. Serving organic food is only the start of the nutrition program. Everything is cooked from scratch. At times, children even help to cook the food. The kitchen also prepares its own infant purees. Children are encouraged to visit local grocery stores and community gardens as well as plant foods within their classrooms. We recognize that the foods put into our bodies from infancy is what provides fuel for our daily lives and is what contributes to a lifetime of healthy eating habits. We believe it is the most important element to the health and nutrition of young children.
Bilingual Programs! - Children have shown to acquire language much quicker than adults when learning under the age of 8 years old. Recognizing that the children of today are global babies who will grow up to interact in all communities and cultures alongside all people, it was important for Our Beginning to provide an early start for children to have exposures to multiple languages. All bilingual classrooms follow a natural exposure model. The children are immersed with both languages throughout the day. At times during some activities, Educators may use the secondary language (Spanish or Mandarin) more intentionally and/or primarily for more exposure. Specific vocabulary is introduced to children and shared with families to encourage usage at home. Music and books are also in both languages. In each classroom, both co-educators are bilingual.
Spanish and English bilingual programs
- Evergreen – 2-3 year old classroom
- San Juan Islands – 2.5-5 year old classroom
Mandarin and English bilingual programs
- Ocean Shores – 2-3 year old classroom
- Mountain – 2.5-5 year old classroom
Certified as an Eco-Healthy Child Care through the Children’s Environmental Health Network. At Our Beginning the importance in an eco-friendly environment is not only of value because it is reflected in the Reggio Emilia philosophy, it is important for us to guide children in lifelong practices that sustain the environment we all live in today and that the children will inherit tomorrow.
This is reflected in the classroom environments with nontoxic paints on the walls, wood flooring, recycled and upcycled furniture, all natural rugs and recycled and natural play materials for the children. All items brought into the school are examined through an eco-friendly lens.