At La Casita we strongly believe in PLAY. Play is essential for children to learn. There are many types, all of which are valuable for young children. The best learning experiences for children happen when children choose what they want to do.  This is called free or self-directed play.

We offer a wide variety of play experiences, expressive materials, and learning experiences not available at home. The children are free to choose, observe, explore, create, and learn in a literacy rich environment especially designed for them. They are free to spend their time as they wish, provided they are not destructive and are not interfering with other children. The teacher provides a setting where each child can grow at his/her own pace, according to his/her own needs. Our concern is the total development of the child: Social, emotional, physical, and intellectual. In an atmosphere in which the cooperative spirit is valued more than the competitive, each child gains a sense of his/her own worth. Open-ended questions are often asked to help children to think. It is hoped that each child will explore all areas of interest in the school as he or she is ready to. If a child persistently spends time in one activity and does not reach out to new experiences, the teacher will try to discover the reason why.

The world famous preschools in Reggio Emilia, Italy have inspired La Casita's philosophy since 1994. The Reggio Emilia schools believe in the powerful image and potential of every child and his or her family. Group meeting with children take place daily, during which children and adults collaborate on the curriculum and ideas are exchanged. The children's dialogue is recorded and documented with photographs and art work.

We utilize the philosophies of developmentalists, Jean Piaget (1896-1980), Erik Erikson (1902-1996), and Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) to understand how children think and grow and make sense of their world. We also utilize Howard Gardner's theory of "Multiple Intelligences."

Our Goals

We believe that an early childhood program, at its best, is one in which children learn to develop the SKILL OF SOCIALIZING with others, and become CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVERS. We hope that all the children will develop the skills to become self-confident, self-motivated, and self-disciplned. We hope children will have the opportunity to grow at their own pace and develop a respect for others in a non-sexist environment. Since learning comes through activities that children enjoy, a positive attitude toward school will be established as a basis for future education.


As astronauts and space travelers, children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses, they unearth the past. As weather reporters and restaurant workers, they make sense of reality; as monsters and gremlins, they make sense of the unreal.
— Gretchen Owocki, Contemporary American early childhood educator