At Fireflies, our teaching philosophy is rooted in a developmentally appropriate approach to learning.
We look at the emotional and social peer to peer readiness as a factor when placing students in each class. Although classes often times have kids close in age, we know that each child learns and develop at different paces. By having fluidity when putting kids in their classes, it allows children to learn social skills appropriate for lifelong success in relationships without as much academic pressure and judgement.
When put into a classroom based on readiness, children are more likely to cooperate than compete. This spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to see each other as individuals as opposed to competitors.
This way of planning classes generates a family of learners who support and care for one another. Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and take leadership roles. They model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, helping younger children to accomplish tasks they would not be able to do independently. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and competence while increasing the younger child’s spirit of belonging in a community of learners.
Each day at Fireflies, classes begin with circle time to center ourselves mentally for the day. We fill these morning meetings with space for each child to share what they feel or want to say as their classmates practice respectful listening.
Our school vision is one that encompasses our F.I.R.E. pledge:
F - friendly
I - inclusive
R - respectful
E - empathetic
A firefly is a student who is aware of their emotions, their peers' emotions, and are learning skills for coping with feelings and interacting with friends as well as adults. Our teachers use these four key words to redirect behavior that might be hurtful to others.
Individualized Pace of Learning
We allow students to self-pace the fundamentals of learning through art, music, and life skills. Skills are taught and worked through as a whole group, as well as in small group work and one on one.
Our teachers tailor instruction for each student, rather than setting the instruction pace for a whole group. This is a striking difference from traditional education in which, for example, every child is expected to master the same concept at the same time as their peers. By teaching to the student’s individual academic readiness and abilities, rather than the assumptions of what their chronological age can handle, we help the student progress at their own pace. They can progress more quickly in the areas that come naturally to them, and with a better understanding of the material. In contrast, students can take their time without competition. If a student is not progressing and the teacher becomes concerned, the parent and teacher can address the issue and discuss further resources to help the child succeed.
Year-round schooling means that students do not fall victim to the “summer slide,” the well-documented phenomenon where students unlearn some of the knowledge they worked so hard to attain when too much consecutive time is taken off from school. Studies have found that students lose about 27% of their learning gains in the summer months. Teachers and students also experience a closer relationship in year-round schools than they do in traditional, fall through spring schools. Although we do still implement learning through play centers, art, science and song, we do make sure that summer still feels like summer. We plan exciting activities like our ABCs Countdown to Summer where we have 26 days of activities such as renting a jumpy house or getting The Wellness Bar to celebrate the start of summer. We also have water play most days to beat the heat.
*We appreciate our teachers and all of the love and hard work they put into teaching. We have a few one week breaks per year for them. Please ask for our yearly calendar.