Early years teacher Bridget Ward's love for working with 2-year-old students is evident as she speaks about them. "The children have a natural love for learning," she said. "They are constantly amazed with the world around them. Their zest for life and learning is contagious."
Bridget came to Pembroke Hill as an early years teacher 16 years ago, after working at The New School in Fayetteville Ark. "The teachers in our building value the whole child and strive to provide an authentic learning experience," she said. "I love working in a truly collaborative environment."
Because Pembroke Hill follows the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, Bridget explained, a large part of early years is focused on developing social and emotional skills and creating community in the classroom. "We work with children on skills such as learning routines that help foster independence," she said.
Every day brings new challenges for students, which Bridget sees the children overcome. "When children first work on a task, such as pouring milk, the liquid might spill all over the table," she said. "After several days of practice, with support from the teachers, the children begin feeling more confident and capable. When they successfully accomplish their goal, they have a tremendous sense of pride in their work."
Similar to preschool and prekindergarten, the early years curriculum features yearlong themes that result in projects reflecting students' interests. Bridget and faculty assistant Diana Moore observe the children and ask them questions to gauge their interests.Recent themes have included construction with ramps and tunnels and light and shadows.