Lupine Lane strives to engage children in meaningful, educative experiences through a progressive, pragmatic approach by providing activities that relate to children and young peoples’ interests and daily life. We also employ a curriculum of love in every classroom. When children feel as though they are cared for and loved, they can easily immerse themselves in learning and creative exercises. Our progressive, pragmatic educational philosophy coupled with our curriculum of love provides a unique environment that allows young minds, bodies and hearts to flourish.
First, let’s examine progressivism and the father of the progressive education movement, John Dewey. The basis of progressive education is to educate the “whole child” while considering the individual student’s academic, emotional and physical needs. Dewey emphasized the cognitive perspective of the philosophy, asserting that ideas and experiences are only truly educative if they have “real world” application. At Lupine Lane, we believe nearly everything can have “real world” relevance, especially imagination and creative expression. Even in children’s play, “social organization takes place” (1899, p. 84), which is an essential “real world” skill.
Dewey also saw the necessity for adult guidance:
The child is already intensely active, and the question of education is the question of taking hold of his activities, of giving them direction. Through direction, through organized use, they tend toward valuable results (1990, p. 36).
Adults are responsible for guiding children’s learning by encouraging examination and critical thinking. However, after adults provide an introduction to the materials and environment, the children take the reigns and commence in exploration of such work [that] engages the full spontaneous interest and attention of the children. [This work] keeps them alert and active instead of passive and receptive; it makes them more capable (1899, p. 83).
Lupine Lane offers an array of activities for children to explore the vast “real world.” All of our cooking classes engage children in the process of making food from scratch, which includes relating numbers to real objects, knowledge of other cultures, and trying new and interesting foods. Our art classes require children to examine objects in their life and create based on their observations. Music classes employ each child’s brain to develop rhythm concepts and instrument recognition. Our photography classes teach each child how to use a camera to capture the beauty of their world. In addition to these specialized classes, our Preschool Program utilizes John Dewey’s progressive approach each day.
We offer all of these pragmatic experiences over a backdrop of a curriculum of love. In Lisa Goldstein’s work Teaching with Love, she asserts, caring relationships are a hallmark of life in classrooms with young children (1998, p. 9). At Lupine Lane, we believe caring relationships between students and teachers should be present in classrooms of all ages. However, these relationships are particularly important in early childhood. Not only does feeling cared for, appreciated, and loved give children a sense of assuredness in their endeavors each day, but these feelings are also pivotal learning experiences. Through feeling cared for, children gain a perspective into caring for others. This is vital, since, as Goldstein states, “it is a moral stance that has the potential to transform education” (1998, p. 15).
Furthermore, feeling loved and accepted provides a stable, welcoming place for children. An open, diverse environment where children from all backgrounds coexist peacefully provides a foundation for tolerance, a foundation that the world may be lacking most. We have created and maintained this environment; where each child has a voice and can understand and feel his or her value every day.
Lupine Lane arose from a passion to provide children with educative experiences while creating beautiful and useful things from the world around them. We realize the importance in providing pragmatic activities, as well as the necessity of making each child feel valued and loved. In each class, we teach with the passion that inspired Lupine Lane: to ignite the individual passions of each child. As Maxine Greene, an advocate for passion in teaching, states: “passion can be a transformation of the world. It can break through the fixities; it can open to the power of possibility” (1986, p. 81). We hope our passion encourages children to learn and love themselves, their community and the exciting, vibrant world at their fingertips.
Dewey, J. (1990). The School and Society, The Child and the Curriculum. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press.
Dewey, J. (1899). The School and Social Progress [Pamphlet]. Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press.
Goldstein, L. (1998). Teaching with Love. New York, New York: Peter Lang.
Greene, M. (1986). Perspectives and imperatives: Reflection and passion in teaching. Journal of Curriculum and Supervision.