to create…
with reverence and gratitude,
a space that is
worthy of a miracle.

-Anita Rui Olds

at the shelter Island early childhood learning center we guide the children through an emergent, inquiry-based curriculum, which enables for the children to become the
center of their own learning. the curriculum is, therefore, driven by posing meaningful questions that the children are able to problem solve by experiment and evaluation guided by the teachers. the newly constructed knowledge is then the basis for broadening the children’s understanding and therefore,

their learning base.

early learners will be challenged to explore hands-on investigation in science through the use of natural materials in art and the environment that surrounds them. the goal is to respond to the children’s interests therefore creating within the child, a sense of wonder and passion for their own learning.

the emergent curriculum will be addressed through the following initiatives:


atelier {art studio}

the atelier provides the environment for the teacher (atelierista) and the children to express their knowledge through the materials and techniques of many genres in art.

children will be encouraged to understand and use the materials available, develop brush strokes to go with a feeling, mix paints to create necessary colors and demonstrate a natural desire to express themselves through varied mediums.

a portfolio of artworks will be kept.



the provocations that develop into classroom themes will be explored through stories told to the children, and through the children's natural wonderings.  knowledge acquisition in from those wonderings and curiosities will be developed into both individual and cooperatively created books throughout the year. Letters and prewriting skills will be threaded through the themes explored.


the concrete idea of numeracy and value will be encouraged through varied materials and learning theories and manipulatives.


to find a song from living things

children will be introduced to song through the many music genres. they will be encouraged to find the heartbeat of the earth…create the rhythm and learn from the forest.

 we will explore music by listening to and creating music with voice and natural environment.

instruments & rhythm

through both the experience of visiting artists and through the use of instruments, children will explore rhythm & tone. children will record cooperative works created with beats from their voices, movement and manipulation of diverse instruments. sound maps will also be explored in the natural environment.



“about trees” initiative is place and inquiry-based and will be comprised of elements which are threaded through a reggio emeilia model incorporating provocations as the basis for the emergent curriculum.

the learning environment is place based, therefore connecting learning to what is local to the learner. children will, within this philosophy, develop an understanding of the ecosystem that surrounds them.

the tree initiative enables for a hands on discovery and exploration of both the ecosystem and its habitats in and around indigenous trees and plant life

by learning and coming to an understanding of their own environment, the children will, as they grow, have the power and commitment to become active participants in their own community.


garden. {inside & out}

using inquiry to inform the process, early learners will be led through the gardening experience through observations, investigation and drawings in nature journals. both the indoor and outdoor gardening practice will provide for a multi-sensory learning experience aimed at developing a better understanding of the environment and the notion that we can grow what we need to live.


the children will go outside every day.