There are so many things to consider when it comes time to select a preschool for our little ones. We want our children to grow and thrive socially, emotionally, and intellectually. We want them to feel a sense of safety and security in a structured and nurturing environment, and to have opportunities to interact and engage with peers from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. And perhaps most of all, we want them to develop a lifelong love of learning.
For parents in search of a holistic educational experience for their children here in Miami, Bottega Child Development Center is a breath of fresh air–a school we are proud to feature in our 2018-2019 Miami Preschools Guide.
The Reggio Emilia Philosophy
A common misconception about the Reggio Emilia approach is that it is an unstructured free-for-all. But this is simply not the case. This time-tested philosophy from Italy focuses on developing each child–a unique individual with great potential–by stimulating their curious nature, rather than viewing them as an empty vessel needing to be filled with abstract information. With an emphasis on the construction of knowledge within a child’s relationship to their educational environment, their teachers, and their parents, students are able to better connect with the world around them and within their community.
During my recent visit to Bottega, I was really fascinated by this unique approach to education. Teachers, referred to as teacher-researchers, really invest in getting to know each individual child in their classroom. They’re able to discern the various educational, developmental, and social needs each student has, and tailor daily lesson plans to address those needs and identify next steps in each child’s learning process. They also involve their students’ families as integral parts of their development, enabling them to ignite their child’s creativity and encourage a passion for learning.
Visible Thinking and Project Zero
For over 50 years, Project Zero–a research group from the Harvard Graduate School of Education–began studying the development of various learning processes in children, adults, and organizations. Today, Project Zero is using their findings to build on this research to facilitate the development of communities that cultivate reflective and independent learners. Visible Thinking is an approach derived from Project Zero that centers on the development of thinking routines to make thinking more visible in learning environments. This unique method supports students’ development as lifelong, self-directed learners and guides them through the process of learning through understanding, rather than using a measure of learning that is dependent on the memorization and regurgitation of facts. It’s a wonderful way to give children a rich framework and foundation of critical thought and creative expression.
From the moment I walked into Bottega, I felt calm and at ease. The environment was soothing and peaceful, and the children I observed during my tour were happily engaged in a variety of learning activities. Founder and Director Sylvia De Armas and Assistant Director Carmen Salas took the time to personally talk with me and share the history and philosophy of their beautiful school. And I fell in love with it. It’s a truly wonderful environment for children to grow and develop their natural curiosity and foster a deep love of learning. I very highly recommend Bottega Child Development Center to any and every family looking for a preschool that will wholly nurture their unique child while fostering their ability to think critically and engage with the world around them as responsible citizens.
At Bottega, children are placed in classrooms according to their ages, maturity levels, needs, and abilities. Their groups are divided into three classrooms, Explorers (young toddlers), Investigators (older toddlers), and Researchers (Pre-K). They also offer VPK! Click here to learn more.
Stop by to see and experience this gem of a school for yourself! Bottega Child Development Center will be hosting their Open House on Saturday, February 9th from 9:30-11:30am. Call 305-666-0537 to RSVP or to schedule your appointment for a personal tour, and let them know that you heard about them on Miami Moms Blog. You can also schedule a tour via their website. But don’t delay! Class sizes are kept small, so spaces are very limited. You’ll be glad that you did!