A group of preschool-aged children bang on outdoor drums, run their fingers through wind chimes and mix together dirt and water in a mud kitchen created just for them. This learning experience is a typical recess for the children who attend the child care center at Bosque Valley Children’s Services.
The center’s founder and director, Beverly Sterling, chose a natural playscape because natural playgrounds have been proven to promote active play, including experimentation and exploration. Creating a fun, safe learning environment that promotes creativity and adventure while creating a child-directed and child-centered learning experience was important to Sterling.
Bosque Valley originally began in 2009 as a place for Sterling, who is a licensed speech pathologist, to offer speech therapy services. Over time, she added occupational and physical therapists as well.
Last spring, Ms. Sterling began doing research on child care centers and discovered a teaching philosophy by Reggio Emilia, which was consistent with their current therapy philosophy of treating a child as a whole.
Because the child care center uses this philosophy as the basis for their teaching, the center might look different from the traditional daycare facility.
“We really believe in responsive caring, which is providing a loving response that meets the child’s needs. This helps the child feel secure and promotes continued communication which is central to their overall development.” she said. “You’re not going to see the teachers over there watching the children play. The teacher will be sitting on the floor with the child playing; actively engaging the child in the learning process because they learn through discovery and experience.”
The center is also free of brightly-colored playground equipment and furnishings.
“Reggio Emilia believes that the home environment is the first environment in which the child begins to learn about his or her world and where the child is most comfortable learning,” Sterling said. “So, you won’t see bright colors because that’s not what homes look like. You’ll see natural, more muted colors so the child will be more comfortable and more receptive to learning.”
The child care center is now enrolling, but there are less than 40 spots available. To learn more about Bosque Valley Children’s Services and their new child care center, call (254) 235-2430 or visit www.bvchildrensservices.com.
Photos by Casey Nystrom Photography
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Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.