St. Margaret’s youngest students start the 2019-2020 school year on Monday, and they will arrive to a newly remodeled campus along with a new division name, Early Childhood School, that best reflects the acclaimed play-based, research-based program which is aligned with the Reggio Emilia approach.
“Our academic program aligns with our other three school divisions of St. Margaret’s in that it is student-centered, specifically designed for the age and developmental stages of our students, and vigorous and experiential to engage and allow agency for students in their learning,” said Early Childhood School Director Cris Lozon, “Dr. Cris” as she is known to her students.
Importantly, the campus improvements and renovations provide an upgraded learning environment, keeping pace with the ongoing advancements of the Early Childhood academic program that have been led by Dr. Lozon with the Early Childhood faculty over the past few years.
All classrooms have been remodeled with new age-appropriate, movable furnishings for customizing the learning spaces and educational provocations to accommodate classroom projects and student learning needs.
A most anticipated addition is the Demonstration Lab, an original creation of the Early Childhood team inspired by the curriculum, which includes a full kitchen for, among other activities, cooking and tasting the produce they grow in the garden, bringing to life a true farm-to-table experience.
The new outdoor Tinker Lab allows for construction, de-construction and innovation of new products from natural and found materials using age-appropriate tools.
The updated Atelier (art studio) provides rich and artist-quality materials for children to further engage in their own creative works. Other improvements include a new library and a multipurpose room for large-scale all-school or classroom projects.
“The play is real,” Dr. Lozon said. “We envision planned possibilities that will allow students to see entire processes from start to finish, propelled by our excellent faculty and boosted by our amazing new learning spaces. For example, they can grow food in our garden, prepare it in the new demonstration lab, and serve it on ceramics they created in the state-of-the-art Atelier.
“It is just one of endless interdisciplinary possibilities that can be made a reality by student’s play-based interests and the faculty and facilities to help see them through. We are so excited to watch our students thrive in this new space.”
To improve pedestrian safety of St. Margaret’s families and for better campus integration, the new renovations also included relocation of the Early Childhood School entrance to the west side of the building, adjacent to Chalmers Field and the Highlands Quad.