In the Orca class, children have many varied opportunities to learn about themselves, each other, and the world around them. Central to our approach to curriculum is in-depth Project Work that grows from the children's pursuits and interests. Traditional preschools approach children as if they were empty vessels ready to be filled with information that adults deem important. Instead, we believe that children come to class full of ideas, experiences, and questions as they try to make sense of their world. It is the job of the adults at school to listen to children, to help children ask questions, and to teach them the skills to find answers. It is not uncommon to see adults writing observation notes or taking photos that record a child's process of discovery. We believe that fostering children's natural inquisitiveness about what excites and interests them and teaching them to represent their new-found understanding in a variety of media will help them to become lifelong learners.
Children represent their ideas and experiences through drawing and art work; writing; dance, music and movement; constructions, and more. The environment and activities are carefully planned by the teachers to assist the children in their learning. Children learn to draw what they see, to use charts and graphs, to pay careful attention to details to help them understand concepts more clearly, to ask questions of experts, and to find a way of representing their answers. There is also a strong focus on learning social skills such as respect, cooperation, and negotiation. All of these skills serve the children well in their preparation for kindergarten.