Where It All Begins
The Applewild Preschool is a happy community of young learners eager to explore their environment and learn about the world. We offer a year-round program for children ages 2.9–5 on both our Fitchburg and Devens campuses. Our programs build on the natural curiosity and excitement of our students by engaging them in hands-on, active learning experiences. By focusing on process, rather than the end result, we empower children to explore the world around them without “right” and “wrong” answers and our focus on collaboration helps reinforce core values including respect and compassion.
Our preschool program helps children develop the important building blocks of general problem-solving and critical thinking skills, all while building confidence and having fun. Our graduating pre-K students often join our Lower School as kindergartners, ready to begin school as confident young learners.
The Emergent Curriculum
We recognize that children have an amazing natural curiosity that makes them powerful and resourceful learners and we’ve built our program around encouraging our students to ask questions and seek answers. An Emergent Curriculum approach allows learning to arise naturally from those interests and curiosities.
We encourage questions and discovery by providing “provocations,” in which materials or ideas are thoughtfully presented to evoke children’s natural fascination with their surroundings. With art projects that encourage creativity and loose-parts play that allows students to explore new materials with no defined set of directions, we give children the tools and guidance necessary to learn through their own discoveries. Our students engage in problem-solving and critical thinking skills and develop emotional intelligence through their creative and collaborative interactions with these materials.
The Environment as Teacher
Our philosophy, inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching, is reflected in our environment. We believe that children are encircled by three teachers. The first is the parent, who takes on the role of active partner and guide in the education of the child; the second is the classroom teacher and the third is the environment itself. Our classrooms, art studio, yoga studio, and Outdoor Classroom are all deliberately designed to encourage children to learn from and interact with their environment.
Our Outdoor Classroom provides a unique, carefully planned learning environment rich with opportunities for child-initiated interactive discovery, including a mud kitchen, loose parts for open-ended play, and a space to create music with real, found, and created instruments. The Outdoor Classroom enhances children’s learning through an authentic connection with the natural world while affording the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of childhood.
At Applewild, the learning process at all ages is inseparable from our Core Values. In our nurturing preschool environment, children understand their importance intuitively. Through activities that intentionally stress collaboration, and a warm environment where everyone participates, young learners internalize the values of respect, fairness, responsibility, compassion, cooperation, honesty, and civic-mindedness. When our preschoolers begin kindergarten, they are ready to use their natural excitement and energy not only to learn and explore for themselves, but to help others and find a place in their community.
Our Core Values