Our mission is to inspire children to become lifelong learners in an interactive environment that is healthy and safe.
Our vision is for our children to be successful enthusiastic learners in the classroom and throughout their lives.
We believe that each child is a unique individual and all children can learn! Our educational system offers developmentally appropriate programs that focus on the process of thinking, creating, and promotes positive learning experiences at a critical stage of a child’s life. We encourage not just learning, but the love for learning through our play-based learning centers. Our child centered program reflects the integration of physical, cognitive, social, emotional, language, self-help and aesthetic areas for the development of each child. Our utmost goal is to maintain our children’s motivations for learning and expanding their ideas by having them think and develop problem solving skills. We are sensitive to our children’s social, emotional, intellectual, and physical needs. We believe in providing a physical environment that is “home-like” and comfortable, safe, clean, healthy and oriented to children’s development. Providing a safe and healthy environment is our first priority.
Meaningful play allows the children to be creative, curious, discover and develop problem solving skills. This allows individual growth in developing a positive self-image. They take the initiative with their tasks, leaving the teachers free to interact, and observe the children in their play setting. Teachers are able to pinpoint each child’s ability and plan activities to move them to the next level. In addition, teachers know the children more intimately and extensively and are able to assess their learning styles effortlessly. When a child takes the initiative with their own learning, they are developing the self-discipline skills they will need later in life. This goal is also accomplished by our commitment to maintain low child to adult ratios.
“The activities that are the easiest, cheapest, and most fun to do – such as singing, playing games, reading, storytelling, and just talking and listening – are also the best for child development.” ~ Jerome Singer (professor, Yale University)
Little Heroes Learning Center uses the Florida State approved Creative Curriculum in conjunction with the Project Zero and Visible Thinking Approach. This curriculum rests on a firm foundation of research and is based on appropriate practices when working with young children. The Curriculum Framework is divided in the following five components: How Children Develop and Learn, The Learning Environment, What Children Learn, The Teacher’s Role and The Family’s Role. The classroom environment is organized into Interest Centers which subdivide the classroom into spaces that accommodate a few children at a time. Interest Learning Centers help children concentrate on developing specific skills while they play. Children engage in active, hands-on learning, while having the freedom to make their own choices. Our daily learning activities are carefully planned in order to satisfy the skills in all of the developmental areas such as fine/gross motor, language skills, cognitive and social/emotional skills. Also, our Daily Schedule consists of active & quiet time (indoors & outdoors), large group activities (teacher-directed), small group activities, and time to play alone or with others. Television viewing will not be a part of the routine.
Project Zero, a research group since 1967at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which investigated the development of learning processes in children and adults. Today, Project Zero is building on this research to help create communities of reflective, independent learners, to enhance deep understanding within disciplines, and to promote critical and creative thinking. Project Zero's mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels.
Visible Thinking is a flexible and systematic research-based approach to integrating the development of students' thinking with content learning across subject matters. An extensive and adaptable collection of practices, Visible Thinking has a double goal; on the one hand, to cultivate students' thinking skills and dispositions, and on the other, to deepen content learning. By thinking dispositions, we mean curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative mindset, not just being skilled but also alert to thinking and learning opportunities and eager to take them.
Reggio Emila Inspired Philosophy
The Reggio Emila philosophy goes hand in hand with the Project Zero and Visible Thinking goals. The Reggio Approach is a complex system that respects and puts into practice many of the fundamental aspects of the work of Dewey, Piaget, and Vygotsky and many others. It is a system that lends itself to: the role of collaboration among children, teachers and parent, the co-construction of knowledge, the interdependence of individual and social learning and the role of culture in understanding this interdependence. (Baji Rankin 2004).
At the heart of this system is the powerful image of the child. Reggio educators do not see children as empty vessels that require filling with facts. Rather they see children as full of potential, competent and capable of building their own theories. Children have the right to be recognized as subjects of individual, legal, civil, and social rights; as both source and constructors of their own experience, and thus active participants in the organization of their identities, abilities, and autonomy, through relationships and interaction with their peers, with adults, with ideas, with objects, and with real and imaginary events of intercommunicating worlds. All this while establishing the fundamental premises for creating “better citizens of the world” and improving the quality of human interaction, also credits children, and each individual child, with an extraordinary wealth of inborn abilities and potential, strength and creativity. Irreversible suffering and impoverishment of the child is caused when this fact is not acknowledged.