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Fostering Children's Independence

At Billy Dalwin Preschool of Temple Emunah, we believe that fostering children's independence, emotional intelligence, and intrinsic motivation is critical to holistic development and growth.

It is easy for adults to take over daily tasks that seem too hard or take too long for the developing child. Tasks like putting on shoes and coats and cleaning up a messy toy area can overwhelm young children. The key is to break down the process and allow children to succeed in small steps that build a strong foundation for future independence, creative thinking, problem-solving, self-confidence, and personal agency. 

There are many ways we support these goals in our classrooms. Here are a few ways we shift from adult-centered to child-centered work and growth.

Child-centered Environment

Our classrooms are designed to allow children to explore and learn independently. Everything within the school is at the child's level, enabling them to select activities that interest them.

Freedom Within Limits

While children can choose their activities, they also learn to respect boundaries and follow guidelines set by the teacher. This balance allows them to develop a sense of autonomy and responsibility.

  • Everyday living activities emphasize practical skills such as dressing, cleaning, setting the table, washing hands, and pouring. By mastering these tasks, children gain a sense of competence and independence in their daily lives.

Emotional Intelligence

  • Mixed-age classrooms allow younger children to learn from older peers and older children to develop leadership skills and empathy toward younger ones.

  • Respect for individual differences: We emphasize empathy, kindness, and respect for others. Children learn to recognize and understand their own emotions and those of their peers, fostering emotional intelligence and social skills.

  • Conflict resolution: Our classrooms allow children to resolve conflicts peacefully through communication and negotiation. Teachers guide children in expressing their feelings and finding mutually acceptable solutions, promoting emotional regulation and empathy.

Intrinsic Motivation

  • Self-directed learning: encourages children to follow their interests and pursue learning at their own pace. Rather than relying on external rewards or punishments, children are intrinsically motivated by their curiosity and desire to explore. Internal motivation is a life skill that will guide the child into adulthood to support creative and personal development. 

  • Hands-on learning materials: classrooms have specially designed materials made of natural materials, such as wood dyed with natural paints, that engage children's senses and facilitate active learning. These materials can be used in various ways that support creativity and problem-solving. 

  • Focus on process over outcome: The emphasis of the classroom activities is on the process of learning rather than solely on the outcome or goal. Children are encouraged to take risks, experiment, and learn from their experiences, fostering a growth mindset and a love of learning for its own sake.

Billy Dalwin Preschool of Temple Emunah provides a nurturing environment that supports children's natural development, empowering them to become independent, emotionally intelligent, and intrinsically motivated individuals.


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