The project aims to create a bilingual (French/English) educational environment for children aged 3-6 years using the vertical teaching method. This method involves combining the three years of pre-school in one class, with the idea that age does not restrict learning and that a mix of ages is an added value.
The younger children have not yet adjusted to a school environment which can create difficulties that come from imposing a new routine too quickly or from rushing them into learning. Welcoming younger children requires time and adjustment for all those concerned. However, thanks to vertical teaching and our commitment, the older children develop relationships, organise points of reference and put in place the rituals which reassure the younger ones and offer the stability they so need.
It is enormously beneficial all around as it allows the older children to evolve and develop skills at their own pace with all the tools they need within their range. The younger children in turn have the possibility of expanding their knowledge according to their individual capabilities. This allows us to gauge each child’s potential early on and to understand how they function and learn. Moreover, the older children are invested in an educational role and their presence within the group is reinforced.
The name ‘Stepping Stones’ was chosen as it evokes the idea of helping one make progress towards a specific goal. This illustrates, to my mind, the passage from preschool, crèche or home to primary school. We are this transition, in which, little by little, young children will grow up.
The teachers and other members of our staff come from very different backgrounds but our passion for children’s development and education drew us to this project.