Our Philosophy

The Hampshire College Early Learning Center strives to provide a loving, safe, and culturally diverse atmosphere for children, parents and staff. Our goal is to create an environment which honors and supports children's diverse interests and abilities, and their family's heritage and traditions.

We seek to provide a flexible program which respects individual differences in children's temperaments and learning styles, while encouraging cooperation among the children. Our primary goal is to foster children's self-awareness and self-esteem, to build their sense of trust, to encourage their creativity, and to nurture empathy. Most importantly, our program provides an atmosphere of mutual trust and caring among the children, parents, and staff.

We believe that children learn best through experience, interaction, active exploration, experimentation, and appropriate adult example. We also believe that the environment is a teacher, and so each classroom design is carefully planned and evolves throughout the year to meet the needs of the children. Teachers act as guides, observers and facilitators of children's discovery, as parents' allies, and as collaborators with one another. We view the children as teachers as well. Our groupings contain a mixture of ages, and we encourage children to act as caregivers and teachers of their peers.

As educators, we have been inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy since 1990, and the schools of Pistoia, Italy since 1998.