What makes Ruth Washburn Unique?

How are we different than other programs?

We often get calls asking if we are like: Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, Goddard School, Primrose School, Head Start, etc. While many of these programs are developmentally appropriate, we are definitely our own program and do things the Ruth Washburn Way.

Our Ruth Washburn Philosophy is to provide developmentally appropriate, research based play activities in thoughtfully planned environments with parents actively involved in the education process. We value early childhood as its own stage of development which is why we don’t use the word preschool in our name. Our academics are embedded within the play of each day and our highly skilled teachers spend hours planning and implementing curriculum from all developmental domains (Social/Emotional, Language/Literacy, Science/Math and Physical) to meet each class and child where they are. Children are assessed on all areas of development to determine, not only where they are within developmental norms, but how to encourage their individual sense of wonder about the world.

Each child is like a snowflake so no two classes will look the same, but there are constants at Ruth Washburn including:

Open ended play within thoughtfully designed environments

This allows for children to explore their surroundings, extend their play, engage in social experiences and begin managing conflict. We have dramatic play which gets changed weekly depending on the theme. It might be a cowboy campfire one week and a bicycle shop or veterinarian’s office the next. There is a block area with multiple types of blocks, people, vehicles, animals, and many other add-ons to extend the block experience. There is a science area that gets changed weekly. This week might be pine cones, seeds, flowers and microscopes to look at everything. Next week could be balances, electric scales, rocks for measuring, graduated cylinders and beakers to measure water. The writing center is a wonderful place to explorer writing your name, making grocery lists, cards for mom, stamping, cutting, etc. There is a cozy reading nook and award winning books in each classroom to explorer, a woodworking table to saw, hammer and create “projects”, a sensory table to play with sand, water, beans, floam, keys, buttons or anything messy.

Healthy Snack

This time is vital in our day. Children learn about food from many cultures, cooking skills, conversational give and take, self-help skills, nutrition and wellness, and patience.

Circle Time/Story Time

This time is when children gather for music, movement, scientific discovery, hands on activities, listening activities, journal writing, magical storytelling and sharing of ideas. After outside time, children return to circle for a story time before dismissal. This allows for a formal gathering to say goodbye, process the day’s activities, plan for the next class time and to finish with a high quality children’s book to reinforce literacy skills.

Process Art

At Ruth Washburn you won’t see 10 children all trying to recreate a craft that the teacher demonstrates. Art becomes science as children discover many different ways to manipulate the provided elements. Children will have 2, 3 or 4 art activities they can choose from each day. They might build a sculpture with wood and nails at the woodworking bench, paint with flyswatters (yes, this is as messy as it sounds), paint at the easel or make “flower” painting by using a mallet to pound flowers into water color paper. The sky is the limit and you will be amazed at how many household items you can paint with (shoes, potato mashers, bubbles, chalk and graters, pipettes, golf balls, baby bottles, ice cubes, spray bottles, etc).

Outside Time

We have an unparalleled outdoor backyard with three distinct playgrounds. On our Farm we have an organic garden that children help plan, plant, harvest and eat, a tractor, big wheel hill and many natural areas for discovering. The Prairie has teepees, a covered wagon with horses, a water play feature with pump, a pirate ship (what Prairie doesn’t have a schooner?), and a climbing hill with rope. The Hillside is our wild and rugged space with a log climbing structure, bridges and dry stream bed, tire swing, hiking paths with tunnel, and don’t forget the giant sandbox.

Parent Involvement

Parents are children’s first teachers and are involved in all areas of the school including helping in the classroom, working on a committee and supporting fundraising efforts. Research shows that parental involvement in a child’s education is one of the most important indicators of future success. In the classroom, parents help approximately once per month. As the parent helper, they play with children, encourage social interactions, prepare healthy snack, participate at circle time, provide support outside, read with children, help clean up at the end of the day and really act as an assistant during the 3 hour class time. This time is invaluable to both the child and the parent is what truly sets us apart from other programs.