​Philosophy 
Children thrive and learn best when given the opportunity to explore and discover in a friendly environment where they interact with friends, guardians and teachers.. 


“Learning only happens when you become a part of the process. Children have true Aha! Moments when they learn without restrictions.” RITA POFF, PRINCIPAL

“All children deserve beautiful places to wonder, discover and experience the learning that comes to life when children are allowed to marvel with their hands, heart and body.” NATALIE ELDER, DIRECTOR

Play is the Beginning 
Play is Learning. Young children do not learn because they are taught, they learn by doing. They learn through play and what is learned with passion they will never forget. When children play they are showing what they have learned and what they are trying to understand. Therefore, PLAY is at the center of our curriculum framework. We then consider the principles, practice and learning outcomes determined to be at the core of our curriculum and become more intentional with our teaching. 

Relationship-based learning 
We consider relationships to be the foundation of everything we do at St. Michael. Research tells us that children’s brains develop when they are in nurturing relationships. We encourage development of social and emotional learning. We base these relationships on respect and the belief that children are competent and capable. 
Emergent Curriculum
We use the children’s interest as a building block for our curriculum and incorporate them into our lesson plans. By observing and listening to the children we are able to identify what they want to learn more about.
Curriculum 

Our curriculum is inspired by best practices for young children, DAP, Developmentally Appropriate Practice and the Reggio Emilia Approach. Our goal is to facilitate optimal cognitive, emotional, social and physical development through our Kindergarten, Pre Programs and childcare. Our belief is children should be respected; and as educators we should listen, observe, interact and learn from the child. Our programs offer small class sizes, and a highly qualified staff. We offer developmental speech, occupational and physical therapy through partnerships with the public schools and other organizations.  

As required by the Indiana Department of Education, all standards and foundations and assessment tools are followed for accreditation purposes. The use of field trips, special guest and parental participation provide each student with the best possible opportunity to learn the required content. Workbooks and activity sheets are a small part of our program, so please do not look for dittos that have little substance. Ask your child lots of questions. Encourage a detailed answer opposed to yes or no questions. Ask who, what, when, where and how questions. Learning through the Project Approach the learning is documented and each child’s materials are saved in the portfolio and cherished as a yearbook. 

Project Approach Learning
Projects are long enough to develop over time. Students’ interest determines the length of the project to discuss, negotiate new ideas, to see progress and revisit. Projects are concrete, personal from real interests, important to children, and “large” enough for diversity of ideas and rich in interpretive and representational expression. 
​                        The Bee Project, Pre Kindergarten
Teacher Role 
To provoke ideas, problem solving, and collaborations with children for further exploration. The children’s projects are shown in a progressive format to foster the connections of learning. We would like to build strong connections between home, school and community to support the children in learning to their full potential.

Art
The art area provides children with multiple ways to express their knowledge of the learning process. Investigation is key for children to unleash an idea that becomes tangible for them to touch, admire and inspire. The documentation of projects brings the representational work come to life. This is where creative expression emerges from the child and the learning process grows.