Philosophy and Approach
Little Pilgrim School offers a developmentally appropriate, play-based, learning environment for children two through five years of age that not only prepares children for kindergarten, but also prepares them to be lifelong learners. Our purpose is to teach the whole child – to help each to grow not only intellectually, but also creatively, physically, spiritually, socially and emotionally. Open-ended, multipurpose and non-commercial materials are preferred to encourage curiosity, exploration, creativity, experimentation and risk-taking. A variety of materials and equipment are provided to promote development in areas of cognitive, physical, spiritual, social, emotional and imaginative growth.
We actively participate and gain inspiration from organizations such as the local and national Associations for the Education of Young Children, Reggio Children and the West Seattle Preschool Association. Our program is influenced by the highly regarded Reggio Emilia education approach, which includes child-centered learning, a focus on the environment, teachers as facilitators and co-learners, and community and family partnerships. Our theme based curriculum lends itself well to in-depth learning on a variety of topics of interest to the children.
We are blessed with wonderfully child oriented and natural spaces, from our classrooms flooded with natural light to our many indoor and outdoor exploration and large muscle play areas, including the big toy playground, the “running” playground, the patio, YMCA Gym, Fellowship Hall, “rainy day” room and Fauntleroy Park trails.
As part of a close-knit community we take advantage of every opportunity to get to know our neighborhood through field trips to local businesses, parks, beaches and attractions.
We seek opportunities for service to help others and bring joy to our community through participation in activities and events, including the Fauntleroy Fall Festival, Salvation Army “Toys for Joy” program, special Valentine delivery and the “Family Matters” series of workshops for families.
We acknowledge that it is the kind of experiences offered and the way adults interact with children that are the most important components of Little Pilgrim School. We are inclusive of all people in the use of language, and give equal value to sexes, races and nationalities. Current teaching methods and quality materials are used as we work with the children in our care.
We love the child so the child will learn to love. We present ourselves as trustworthy and dependable so the child learns to trust and grow in faith. We accept angry feelings, we seek to understand fears and we forgive errors so the child learns to handle anger, fears and guilt in acceptable ways. We deal with children in this way because it is the way God deals with us. It is the way Christian people live and treat one another.
During early childhood we do very little talking about the gospel. We do not say much about God, Jesus, the Bible and prayer, but seek to establish the foundation for the child’s relationship to the church, the body of Christ and the people of God by letting the child experience, at the preschool level, the Christian life. When the child can use words and ideas easily, conversation about and study of the facts of our Christian faith begins. During early childhood we will build a strong base from which that study of facts can develop.
Statement of Purpose
Little Pilgrim School, sponsored by the Board of Christian Education, Fauntleroy Church, UCC, is a unique enrichment program for two to five year old children that provides a Christian environment for individual growth by:
- Guiding children toward their God-given potential by stimulating their intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social and physical development;
- Introducing children to structured and unstructured group learning experiences and facilitating their social interactions;
- Identifying special needs of children, including professional screening for speech, hearing and vision and making appropriate referrals;
- Conferencing with parents to provide increased awareness of their child’s growth and supporting them in parenting responsibilities;
- Being an outreach service of the church to the community;
- Affirming the faith and values of Fauntleroy Church;
- Honoring the faith traditions of each pupil;
- Communicating a knowledge and love of God through words and experiences using age-appropriate Christian concepts, and the virtues wording;
- Offering a warm a secure atmosphere for exploring our world; and
- Fostering creativity, fun and a joy in learning and living.
In addition to our own emergency preparedness plan, Fauntleroy Church has been named a community emergency hub, and in case of major catastrophe is equipped with supplies and resources for first aid and communication. The West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs are our emergency community gathering sites in case a major disaster occurs that makes it impossible to get information and help in the usual ways.
Memberships, Partnerships and Affiliations
Puget Sound Association for the Education of Young Children (PSAEYC)
Washington Association for the Education of Young Children (WAEYC)
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
West Seattle Preschool Association
White Center Early Learning Initiative (WCELI)
White Center Providers
Reflective Practices in Early Education