Instead, she found lack of continuity due to part-time staffing. She found toddlers and preschoolers amped up on a barrage of bright colors. She found overemphasis on cognitive indictors of progress (so many worksheets, so little fresh air). These were the scenes of the industry standard.
In 2012, Elizabeth founded Here We Grow on a very simple principle: There has to be a different way to do this.
After researching the Reggio approach to early education—a philosophy based on child-directed, exploratory learning—and renovating an old schoolhouse in the country, Elizabeth welcomed the first families to Here We Grow in February 2013. She vowed to center her business on the people: the parents, the children, the staff, the community. She couldn’t have imagined how quickly it would grow.
Dedicated full-time staff. Our teachers are educated, experienced facilitators of learning. They communicate daily with families. They love to play in the rain. In return, we are committed to paying them a living wage with PTO and holidays; this is reflected in our tuition. We know that when we value what they have to offer, the entire community is stronger for it.
Family and community partnership. We foster a strong support network through consistent communication, community resource referrals, experiential education classes for parents, and outdoor family events.
Child-Directed Learning. When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are all the rage, we’ll happily use them to discuss a turtle’s diet and habitat (pizza and sewers aside). When the kids can’t get enough bugs, we’ll bring in a giant millipede and pretend we’re not terrified. We tailor our activities to engage the children’s interests and meet their individual developmental needs. Our Assistant Director manages planning and preparation so our teachers can focus on teaching.
Farm-to- Table Meals. We provide nutritious, locally sourced meals by Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro. This community partnership also facilitates discussion about where food comes from, healthy eating, composting, and sustainability. Children witness farm-to- table practice firsthand when our own garden harvest is featured on the menu.