Westwood Early Childhood Center is an integral part of Westwood Lutheran Church and helps foster the development of young children within a quality Christian atmosphere. The educators of Reggio Emilia, Italy inspire our work and observation and documentation support our practice. Elements such as natural materials, open-ended activities, and the arts are woven throughout our practice and are visible within our environment. Four essential partners - the church community, children, teachers, and parents - guide our work, shape our ministry, and serve as inspiration within daily practice.
ROLE OF THE CHILD
We believe that children possess a unique profile of intelligence. We consider children meaning-makers and active participants in their own learning processes. Children are afforded the freedom to make plans and engage with materials, other children, and adults. We recognize children for who they are today and know that by focusing on the present, we are helping to shape active and engaged citizens of tomorrow.
ROLE OF THE TEACHER
Consistency and routines established with teachers and environments provide emotional stability and foster learning and growth. Teachers use observation and documentation of children’s work to respectfully support the whole child’s learning and development. They use these tools to collaborate with children, families, and other educators as co-creators of knowledge. Teachers help support children around how to think, not what to think. Teaching teams are skilled and passionate about child development and education. Italian educator Loris Malaguzzi’s vision of education based on relationships has strongly informed our work. Our goal is to continually foster relationships and encourage others to see the potential that exists when people come together with a shared vision and collective spirit.
ROLE OF THE PARENT
WECC provides a family-centered approach to education by engaging parents as the child’s first teacher and respecting the individual and cultural differences that exist within each family. Parents collaborate with teachers in order to be active participants in their child’s learning. Families are an integral part of the life of the school as children, parents, and teachers learn together and grow in community.
Children and families are invited to engage in faith formation experiences through partnerships with the church’s ministries such as weekly community meals, family-focused worship services, and quarterly donation drives to the
St. Louis Park Emergency Program. Participation in mealtime prayers, weekly chapel, and openness to other faith traditions reflects the program’s vision and mission to Worship, Serve, Invite, Connect, Give, and Grow.