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Our philosophy at Side by Side in based on the developmental and constructivist theories of Jean Piaget, John Dewey, and others. Our curriculum is carefully designed to coordinate with children's developmental stages and include many opportunities for children to experience things first hand.

We believe that children gain a deeper level of understanding when they have the opportunity to:

  • engage in first hand experiences
  • reconstruct their experiences in the classroom in a variety of ways (ie writing, talking, block building, painting, museum shares)
  • reflect on their learning
  • express and support their ideas and understandings

We have an interdisciplinary curriculum organized around a social studies and science core. Our units are designed to build upon each other so that children can use prior knowledge to construct a meaningful understanding of the subject studied. For example, the third graders study the Long Island Sound and the surrounding woodlands, before they study the Native Americans who lived in this area, and before they study the colonists who settled here.

In the younger grades, the units begin with the study of things central to the young child's world, such as themselves, their home, and their family. The focus gradually widens to include their school, their neighborhood, and their community. The focus of these units is on our interdependence with each other and the environment, what the community needs and how those needs are met.