- Our school’s philosophy is rooted in the Reggio Emilia Approach to education.
- We believe in hiring experienced educators and maintaining a commitment to ongoing professional development.
- Parents are an essential part of our community.
- We have built and learned from our long history.
- We are committed to diversity and inclusion.
Co-op Community & Parent Roles
Parent participation and community involvement at BHCP is essential and takes on many forms. We celebrate the diverse skills and talents that families bring to the school and enjoy the exchange of ideas between parents and teachers. Because we are a true cooperative preschool, we also depend on parents for assistance in many aspects of our program.
Family commitments include:
- CO-OPING in your child’s class on a regularly scheduled basis. Frequency of participation depends on the size of the class and the number of days per week it meets.
- MAINTENANCE DUTY, which may range from general cleaning to a specific project to help maintain the school property. Each family is expected to provide a total of three hours (per child at the school) each year.
- ATTENDANCE at general membership and class meetings.
- COMMITTEE AND/OR BOARD SERVICE to help the school function, raise money or provide an enriching experience for our children. In addition, each classroom has the responsibility for one “special program” during the year, such as the annual Stone Soup Chapel.
- FUNDRAISING all parents participate in some aspect of fundraising activities, such as selling gift wrap or assisting with a silent auction.
- ORIENTATION and training session, held prior to the start of school, for all parents new to BHCP or returning after an absence.
The Reggio Emilia Approach
Teacher as a Researcher
Teachers work with other staff, the Atelierista*, and children to create a culture of inquiry. The experimental environment has teachers learning with the children. This culture of inquiry creates a risk-taking environment where everyone is encouraged to develop, reflect on, and modify their thinking.
*An Atelierista is a teacher with a background education in the creative arts who works directly with classroom teachers, and students, devising and facilitating learning experiences that complement classroom curricular learning.
Parent as Partner
Families are an essential resource to Reggio-inspired schools and parent participation takes many forms. At BHCP, parents play an active part in their children’s learning experiences and help to ensure the welfare of every child in the school.
Environment as Teacher
Our staff observe the children’s interests and continually construct new environments that respond to and encourage those interests.
Emergent Curriculum and Project Work
Rather than a standardized or pre-determined curriculum, BHCP uses Emergent Curriculum.
After observing children in action, teachers compare, discuss, and interpret their observations. They then make choices about what to offer next and how to sustain children in their exploration and learning. A curriculum emerges through this cycle of observation, response, and reaction. The physical learning environment changes with the curriculum as described above.
Throughout this process, teachers connect the emergent curriculum to the Early Learning and Development Standards to ensure all students are prepared for their next educational journey.
Projects are the backbone of the children’s and teachers’ learning experiences. Teachers facilitate children’s learning by doing, discussing in groups, and regularly revisiting ideas and experiences.
Documentation as Communication
Teachers and staff are constantly observing and documenting children’s questions, creating ways to extend the questions, documenting the learning process, and asking new questions. These written observations are used to develop the curriculum. We look at what children are thinking about and then we use their questions to go deeper into their learning
We would like to thank Louise Boyd Cadwell for distilling “the fundamentals of the Reggio Approach into [this] list of essential elements” in her book Bringing Learning to Life (2003).
BHCP is the oldest co-operative preschool in Virginia. Founded in 1939, Beverley Hills Church Preschool helped to meet the needs of the community and working mothers during World War II. The school’s founder, Rev. William Basom of Beverley Hills Church, understood its potential as a place for community and for co-learning between adults and children.
One of the reasons for preschool is to draw the family together when so many forces of our modern life tend to pull it apart.
We do expect that there will always be an opportunity here for the development of a greater degree of mutual respect and understanding among us all.BHCP Founder Rev. William Bassom
Beverly Hills Church Preschool does not discriminate on the basis of applicants or employees based on race, religious affiliation, ethnicity, gender, family structure, or disability.