Frequently Asked Questions
At The Room To Grow, our mission is to cultivate a community rich with diverse possibilities in which every child can discover their voice, value and purpose while recognizing the right of others to the same opportunities. We seek to create confident, caring, competent learners, one individual at a time.
Please see our FAQ below for more information. If you have any additional questions, please Contact Us
What kind of child does well at RTG?
Choosing a first school for your child is a very personal experience. We believe that because we are a responsive, emergent program we are a good place for most children, but it is equally important that we are the right place for you as a parent. Our values need to be aligned with yours, as do our expectations for young children. We will help the most reticent child find their voice while at the same time guiding the most boisterous and extroverted child to notice and listen to that voice. They learn from one another and the personal and social development emphasized at this age is what we believe prepares children to be ready to navigate the expectations of Kindergarten and beyond.
What does Reggio-inspired really mean?
In Reggio Emilia, children attend schools that recognize them as citizens of the World, view teachers and children as co-learners and co-researchers and the environment (indoors and out) as the third teachers. We are informed and inspired by their practice, making it unique to our setting and social culture. We emphasize competence and confidence by working alongside children and making time for practicing, noticing and struggling with materials, skills and conflicts.
How will I know what my child is doing and learning?
At RTG you have a teacher-advocate who makes sure the teaching team knows about family changes, needs and questions while gathering and communicating the observations and documentation of your child’s experience at school with you. We have a private online group where teachers document various projects and areas of the school in real time. This allows you to comment, ask questions and to look at the photos and videos with your child to prompt a meaningful and substantive conversation about their day.
Can I come visit the school?
Open Houses on Saturdays is when we open the school for interested families. It’s a big deal to have strangers watching you, so we only do that in February for those folks who have submitted applications and are moving through the enrollment process. That way, we get to talk about having “a whole bunch of visitors for a few weeks” with the kids and they are ready to welcome you! The rest of the year, the school is theirs.
Are you open year round?
RTG follows the calendar for the public school district. We are off two weeks at Winter Break, one week at Spring and two weeks at the beginning of August. Besides those, we take the major Federal holidays and three to four professional development days throughout the year.
Can I just enroll a couple of days a week to start?
Our school is about building community, learning to navigate complex social skills and doing long-term inquiry based projects. For those reasons, it is important that all community members are there consecutive days. Our youngest friends have a shorter day (8:00 – 1:00) and Fridays are optional for everyone. We find this really helps build engagement, quality relationships and eases separation much sooner.
Why does RTG not allow licensed characters?
What we’re talking about at preschool is the impact the licensed products have on three distinct areas of a child’s development and sense of themselves:
Positive and successful social interactions.
Creative and imaginative play.
Minimizing family stress.
When children play with one another in an environment that is rich in materials that lend themselves to unlimited imaginative uses, the children are encouraged to think independently and creatively, then collaboratively. They use materials to create scenarios, tools, garb and props that advance and enhance the play experience by employing the neutral objects around them in specific and assigned ways. There are also more and varied opportunities for different children to contribute to the narrative in a meaningful way, rather than just the one or two that either possess the signifier toy or are most expert at the predetermined storylines.
In a commercialized childhood…..
Play is driven by branded toys, media, and storylines.
Kids interact with peers and adults mostly via commercial technology or screen-based play.
Children are seen as a mass market, and valued for what they can spend (or nag their parents to spend).
Toys, clothes, and other products are hyper-gendered and gender-segregated, because more products means more profits.
Kids’ media is designed first-and-foremost to build brand loyalty, sell licensed products, and capture children’s attention for advertisers.
Children’s values are shaped by marketing messages.
Thanks to the important work of http://commercialfreechildhood.org/
We use the work of Tom Drummond to guide our language with children.
One of the things we all struggle with at one time or another is being able to communicate with the children in our lives in positive, productive and respectful language once things get frustrating, heated or hurried. Most of us have also been exposed to methods of engaging with kids that are focused on getting a quick result rather than on building a vocabulary of navigation, self-awareness, dignity and respect. Several years ago, we came across the work of Tom Drummond, a professor emeritus who has generously shared his teaching portfolio with the rest of us, now that he is retired. There is more there than I will ever be able to fully appreciate, but his work on effective, respectful, joyful communication, titled Enterprise Talk, has been, to quote one of our teachers, revolutionary!
He first offers, rather provocatively, three prohibitions:
no directions (nobody likes being told what to do all the time, including children … furthermore, they learn little about self-management or constructive decision making when not given the space to practice either.)
no questions (not really NO questions, just no questions for the sake of getting kids to perform and no questions that are really directions repackaged into questions. “What are you supposed to be doing right now?” isn’t so much a question as it is a message of manipulation and disapproval.)
no praise (again, no empty-calorie praise…things like “cool” or “awesome” or “good job” usually have little depth or sincerity – better to try one of the suggestions to follow!)
And replaces them with six guides –
Description (Giving information about what is happening or what needs to happen casts the child as a participant rather than a subject. “I’m almost done making dinner, and we’ll be eating soon. In a few minutes we will need to set up the table for dinner.”)
Narration (“You have been really busy making a big block city on the table for your panda bears to explore. I’m going to get the napkins and silverware while you are finishing up their adventure.”)
Subjective talk (Modeling with the bonus of appropriate observational vocabulary for future use “I’m going to start picking up the blocks that fell down here on the floor because we have to put away these toys before we can set the table for dinner.”)
Non-verbal recognition (A smile, a wink, a high-five, giving one of the toy pandas a kiss good night as you place it on the storage bin. Sharing a moment of gratitude, companionship and collaborative success.)
Intrinsically phrased recognition (Noticing, out loud, the naturally occurring feelings that come with perseverance and constructive behavior.)
Enjoyment “Racing to sort all those blocks was fun wasn’t it?”
Competence “You didn’t drop a single one.”
Cleverness “You had a great idea.”
Growth and Change “You’re sure getting strong!”
Enterprise Talk: a handrail
Still have Questions?
If you can't find an answer in the FAQ above, please feel free to contact us here. We aim to answer any and all parent questions.