The early childhood years present vast opportunities for children to develop core life skills. But this can be a challenging time for busy parents — when it comes to Early Childhood Education (ECE, kids ages 2.3-5), there are countless approaches for parents to consider. The question then becomes: What do we want our kids to take away from their Early Learning experiences?
At MUSE School, EC is a time to foster self-discovery in children, celebrate their individuality, and expose them to group learning settings — it’s a time to nurture social, emotional, and academic interests at a pace that is student-driven.
The Five Pillars: A Foundation for Excellence
MUSE School’s ECE program is based on child-centered, play-based learning, guided through principles of individuality and community. Teachers aim to deeply understand each child through their passions and unique learning style. To help achieve this, the ECE program is structured around The Five Pillars, a combination of social, academic, and environmental philosophies which include:
- Passion-Based Learning
Tapping into childrens’ innate, limitless curiosity is a hallmark of the MUSE ECE program. MUSE School educators believe that academic interests are best cultivated when students are passionate about the subject matter, and this belief inspired the Passion Based Learning model. In Passion Based Learning, teachers’ observations, combined with student input, create the basis for this unique approach to curriculum — and it is the childrens’ ideas and passions that guide individual and classroom projects.
The model demonstrates how collaboration and empowerment in the classroom result in students who love learning and are independent thinkers — and these are outcomes that MUSE ECE parents like Hannah Ashby find invaluable.
“My son can’t wait to go to school and he always talks about his passion. He says to me, ‘My passion is sharks, Mom.’ That just warms my heart, because how many children can actually say what their passion is? Passion based learning has changed my perspective on life and has been a key component to my son’s development,” said Ashby.
Providing young students early exposure to academic concepts in a stress-free setting is an essential pillar of the MUSE ECE program. Students learn early reading and math concepts through participating in play-based activities. From singing songs with their classmates to counting plants in the MUSE vegetable gardens, exposure to academics is gentle, meaningful, and fun for children. By creating a learning environment wherein students’ imaginations help to inform the day’s lessons, MUSE ECE empowers children to build a personalized academic foundation.
Improved language and social skills are common goals that parents have for their children. During the early childhood years, a child’s vocabulary typically grows from about 900 words to 2,500, which becomes the basis for more complex sentence construction. It’s an opportune time to nurture these budding language skills that will enable students to become more confident communicators.
At MUSE ECE, communication skills are taught through the Process Communication Model (PCM), a proprietary communication system developed by Dr. Taibi Kahler in which all teachers at MUSE are trained. The PCM utilizes behavioral and observational approaches to help students achieve productive communication styles and learn conflict management.
MUSE ECE parents Chrissy and Stuart Bullard have found that PCM has had a tremendous impact on their child’s development. They shared that, “In the early childhood program at MUSE, children are more aware of communication with themselves and others. The program helps them to establish a sense of security within themselves and helps them to be more confident when speaking to people. Kids feel more empowered to venture out into their environment and experience things.”
Self-efficacy can be defined as “my belief in my ability to be successful by accessing my open, resourceful and persistent skill sets.” It plays a direct role in determining individual mindsets, behaviors and motivations. Typically, people who have self-efficacy are confident to take on challenging tasks and are resilient in the face of setbacks.
MUSE ECE believes that self-efficacy is one of the greatest skills children can develop, because of its lasting impact on their lives. It’s a skill that builds each day when children are given the appropriate space and direction for it to grow. MUSE ECE students participate in a range of enriching experiences that help them develop the building blocks of self-efficacy — they sing and dance and make music; they build and create in MakerSpace; and they plant seeds to help grow fruits and vegetables in the Seed to Table program.
The students collaborate with their classmates to build social confidence, share ideas, and productively communicate any blocks. Ultimately, they celebrate the joys of being inquisitive children in a space that inspires and encourages them to ask questions — a space in which they can confidently discover themselves.
James Cameron, Suzy Amis Cameron, and Rebecca Amis founded MUSE with the mission of “inspiring and preparing young people to live consciously with themselves, one another, and the planet.” The Sustainability Pillar is a reflection of the environmental focus that helps define MUSE. Learning about the world around them and the importance of protecting our planet presents an opportunity for students to step outside the classroom and walk into nature.
Students take hikes around campus and learn about biodiversity, get their hands dirty in the MUSE Gardens as they learn how their food choices impact the earth, and compost their plant-based snacks and lunches to reduce waste. They develop an awareness for the world around them, and begin to understand that they can play an important role in helping to leave the planet better than we found it.
“My son is 3 years old and he understands where his food is coming from and he gets to touch the plants and learn about the importance of recycling and composting. To instill this at a very young age is so valuable, especially today,” says parent Hannah Ashby.
The Results That Matter
Ultimately, we want the time that our children spend in ECE to be nurturing, enriching, and educational. Every child is unique and the MUSE ECE program embraces those individual differences and leverages them to construct an experience that is personalized for each student. MUSE is a place where children can comfortably play, learn, make friends, laugh, invent, share, and build confidence. It’s a space where they can shape their path and start to discover themselves and the world around them — and these are outcomes worth celebrating.
Do you enjoy the idea of being responsible for nurturing happy and healthy youth in your community? We are franchising the MUSE School model across the U.S. and internationally. To learn more, visit the MUSE franchise page or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our team members will be in touch.