Our mission is to provide a warm, nurturing environment where children are respected and encouraged to discover themselves. Play is at the heart of learning and hands-on opportunities are provided to stimulate learning.

Philosophy and Values

Young children learn through play. Through play children have the opportunity to explore their environment using all of their senses, try out various roles and problem solving strategies, and learn how to use language as a tool for communication and understanding each other. Children learn best by doing. Play requires active thinking and experimenting to find out how things work and to learn firsthand about the world we live in.

Our philosophy is based on the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) guidance on developmentally appropriate practices, which recognizes that child-initiated, teacher-supported play in a nurturing and encouraging environment leads to the development of autonomy, positive self-esteem, and the pre-academic skills children need.

In addition to focusing on learning through play, we believe that the educational environment that most effectively promotes significant learning is one where:

  • The individuality and uniqueness of each child is valued, respected and trusted

  • External threats to self; such as rejection, criticism, competitive evaluation, reward, or punishment are at a minimum

  • The child is free to explore the materials and resources that are available in light of his/her own interests, potential, and readiness


Our Philosophy in Action

We provide many alternative activities for the children, and encourage them to make their own choices. We have a daily routine that we follow. The children may choose from many available options, depending upon their mood and personal preference.

We encourage our children to be autonomous in all respects. In addition to choosing activities, children are free to decide what results they want from their chosen activity. We offer to help a child in an activity only if they seem frustrated. Independence extends to snack and washroom activities time as well. Although it sometimes may take longer for a child to pump the soap, pour the water, clean the spill, these are all important parts of their learning and development of their self-esteem.

We encourage children to resolve their own conflicts. Our teachers and coopers think of themselves as mediators rather than problem solvers. We let the children try to work out problems first, instead of immediately intervening (except when a child is in physical danger). We aim for children to develop the skills they need to communicate.

We emphasize personal responsibility and community building. This includes helping to clean up the classroom as well as interpersonal behavior. If a child accidentally hurts another, the child could help care for the person who is hurt by getting a drink of water, a cool cloth, a tissue, etc. If someone spills something at snack, a friend might offer to help clean it up. We let children feel empowered by taking part in these events; it develops empathy.

We maintain a positive approach. If a child is engaging in an unacceptable or inappropriate behavior or activity, we direct him/her in finding an acceptable alternative. If a child can't throw the blocks, what CAN they throw? Bean bags? Scrunched up newspaper? What CAN they do with sticks? Dig? Throw them over the fence? Play a drum? If a child needs to be redirected, its purpose is to help the child to learn acceptable alternative behaviors. Under no circumstances is physical punishment, threats, or intimidation of any kind permitted.

We teach respect. We encourage children to respect people and property including one another, the teacher, parents, and themselves.

We maintain a peaceful environment. In our program, exploration, curiosity, and collaboration are encouraged. In addition to focusing on caring for each other, we teach children to respect and care for our environment. We model for children how to care for our environment through recycling, upcycling, and composting.

Program Goals

Cedar Lane Nursery School offers three classes by age. All classes have the goals of:

  • Fostering an enthusiasm for learning and an active curiosity.

  • Promoting emotional growth by building self-confidence and a sense of self- worth.

  • Helping each child develop an inner sense of discipline and self-control.

  • Encouraging children to be responsible members of the community.

  • Promoting positive social development by developing interaction skills, and promoting empathetic and caring behavior toward others.

  • Nurturing children by providing loving care in a safe and healthy environment.

  • Providing opportunities to interact with the world around them.


We strive to provide opportunities for children to:

  • Accept frustration as a part of learning.

  • Develop creative and imaginative powers.

  • Develop self-expression.

  • Develop control of their bodies and kinesthetic awareness by using large and small muscles.

  • Develop at their own rate.

  • Develop their own interests.

  • Develop their ability to perceive through the five senses.

  • Develop their use of expressive language to increasingly meet their needs and express their thoughts.

  • Develop thought patterns to help them think clearly and problem solve.

  • Develop listening skills and attention span.

  • Develop their resting and relaxing skills.

  • Develop an appreciation for science and scientific investigation as well as knowledge about how our world works.

  • Develop an appreciation for and respecting other cultures and customs.

  • Enhance skills for comprehension of the printed word.

How Children Learn

For young children, the finished product is not as important as the process of creating it. For example, painting is how it feels to apply color to things, how colors mix, how paint drips, how people react when it drips! The same can be said for other activities in the program. All children have different learning styles which dictate how they are able to process information at this age. We strive to discover how each child learns best, and then use that to everyone’s advantage. We believe that children learn best when they:

  • Play in a stimulating, developmentally-appropriate environment.

  • Have first-hand experiences that use multiple senses.

  • Are given choices and decisions to make.

  • Are allowed to solve conflicts and problems when appropriate.

  • Are respected as individuals.

  • Enjoy a classroom that reflects their work and their interests.

  • Have a comfortable and familiar routine.

  • Have a developmentally-appropriate curriculum and materials.

  • Are supported through interaction and modeling with caring adults.


How We Support Children’s Development

To guide the learning opportunities provided to children, we generally follow the well-established, research-based Creative Curriculum (PDF). This curriculum specifies activities designed to encourage the development of language skills, math concepts, large and small muscle development, music, and art, all in the context of play.

Through the activities of this curriculum and our day-to-day interactions with children, here are some examples of what we provide to prepare children with the skills they will need for kindergarten and beyond:

  • Opportunities for children to develop language skills through guided classroom discussion during circle time, modeling of appropriate language for expressing appreciation and addressing conflicts with peers, having developmentally-appropriate print-rich environments, daily book readings, and weekly Spanish classes

  • Opportunities for children to develop gross motor skills through outdoor play (including digging, climbing, and running) and indoor play (using plasma bikes, dancing and playing musical instruments during music lessons), as well as acting out stories and songs

  • A great variety of experiences using different materials to facilitate small motor skills. This includes doing unique activities with playdough, gak, and other materials; making artwork using traditional items (such as paint and crayons) and non-traditional items (e.g., bubblewrap, using household items as stamps); drawing and writing; rice and water tables

  • Continuous instruction and feedback for developing social-emotional skills, including empowering children to identify and manage their own emotions, work well with others, appreciate and handle conflicts with peers in an appropriate way, and follow classroom rules and expectations

  • Continuous facilitation of positive approaches to learning for children, valuable skills that help children be ready for kindergarten and a lifetime of learning. To facilitate positive approaches to learning, we present learning opportunities in a way that piques children’s curiosity and desire to learn, facilitates their ability to take initiative and think creatively.

  • Developmentally appropriate opportunities to facilitate pre-academic skills, including basic math skills, memory gains, and problem solving experiences. These opportunities are offered through meaningful group and individual experiences that are developmentally appropriate.