Our eclectic curriculum draws inspiration from many well-known pedagogies including Waldorf, Montessori, and Reggio Emilia, adapting these approaches to serve the urgent holistic and cultural needs of today’s children. It is our mission to help protect young children from the hazards of modern childhood (such as nature deficiency, lack of personal emotional awareness and empathy, pervasive technological and media influence, overstimulation, and disconnection from multigenerational community) by providing a curriculum that nourishes the heart as well as the body and mind. We believe in supporting healthy development on all levels of being by offering children a framework for connecting deeply to the Earth and to other members of the human family.
We greatly value childhood as a time in its own right, and we protect it by encouraging open-ended play, media-free toys made of natural materials, activities, songs and stories that spark imagination, and ample time spent outdoors.
Our low-tech environments prioritize cultivating empathy within our relationships, activities that offer connection to nature and seasonal rhythms, and lots of outside playtime. By honoring simplicity, domestic arts, and an appreciation for beauty, harmony, the Earth, and all living things, children develop a strong foundation of interconnectedness with which to enter the world with as they grow.
“Educating the mind without the heart is no education at all.”
Sweet River Bamboo Preschool & Nursery is built upon the conviction that there is an urgent need for families today to live in harmony with the Earth and in connection to community. At this critical time in history, we must collectively make deep changes to how we live in order to enjoy a sustainable future together. SRB believes in rising to the challenges of our time by drawing on the resources of the past. Our program, inspired by Earth-based and spirit-based cultural traditions, is designed to bring the wisdom and gifts of community-based existence into today’s world to address what is missing from modern culture. It offers an experience of belonging within a rich holistic system that is both social and ecological, where families are connected to one another as well as to the natural rhythms and cycles of the Earth.
Our motivation to turn towards historic and cultural traditions, as inspiration for forming the container that holds our programs, was derived from the reality that most of us living today have not experienced living within an extended connected community structure directly. We value cultures world-wide and take great care when sourcing from various cultures within our global family.
“Look deep within nature and
then you will understand
~ Albert Einstein
The Space We Inhabit
- To nourish the whole child and offer a balance of childhood experiences which naturally stimulate cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
- To provide children with a home-like setting, small class size and a low teacher-student ratio.
- To provide a beautiful, safe and loving environment where children feel respected and secure enough to develop skills at their own pace and readiness.
How We Learn
- To provide children with teachers and an environment that model healthy, mindful, and creative lifestyle habits that children can draw from naturally.
- To offer a balance of self-directed play and guided activities, which inspire children to form their own images of creativity and sense of productivity and accomplishment.
- To develop a strong and lasting relationship with our Earth’s seasonal rhythms and to recognize our place within this cycle by marking the turning points of the seasons with ceremony and community celebrations.
- To create an environment where children can cultivate sensitivity, receptivity, self-regulation and empathy within their relationships.
Who We Are & Where We Are Going Together
- To create an environment where diversity, consent, safety, equity, space to develop one’s own identity and compassionate communication are implicitly present within our classrooms and larger community and become explicit topics for engagement and further learning whenever necessary.
- To develop community by partnering with families to develop a network supporting play-dates, educational and celebratory gatherings, special events, skill sharing, and parent support.
- To recognize that we are part of a community comprised of three rings, children, teachers, and parents, whose thoughts, needs, and actions have a ripple effect, inward and outward, impacting the entire community. We remember that we are all in this community together and are each doing their best to be supportive, mindful, and communicative towards one another.
“Our highest endeavor must be to develop free human beings who are able
of themselves to impart purpose and direction in their lives.”
~ Rudolf Steiner
Community is supported at SRB by the small size of our kinships, by the interconnectedness of these groups, and by a variety of community events and offerings. Our kinships, inspired by the integrated family groups, offer better teacher/child ratios than the state requires, encouraging caregivers and children to develop close relationships with one another. These kinships are linked together into a large community by means of our partner organization, Nourishing Earth Institute (NEI), which hosts mindful monthly and seasonal gatherings to celebrate turning points of the natural world. Families can develop community bonds by attending these gatherings, as well as by attending NEI’s lectures and enrichment classes on a wide variety of topics. Our vision is to foster the formation of a community that comes together both in times of celebration and in times of hardship, that shares its members’ wisdom, knowledge and skills, that offers support to everyone, that works together to raise children and to live with reverence on this planet.
Our Commitment to our Earth, Our Children, Our Future
Sweet River Bamboo strives to leave as little impact on the planet as possible and to live in harmony with the Earth in every way possible. We compost, reuse, or recycle everything we can and greatly minimize our waste production. We use Earth-friendly cleaning products and utilize natural materials to furnish and supply our programs. We support local and sustainable businesses, raise awareness about sustainability in our community, and educate our children about the impact of our material usage habits on our future together here on this planet.
We strive for this way of living and yet, we understand how under-supported this process is in our society. We move gently towards our goals and celebrate every little change we make to better our policies and daily habits. We understand that each of us are doing our best to be more aware of our impact on the planet. Change takes time. Every step counts. Let’s work together to support our efforts and educate our children.
“Teach us to walk the soft
Earth as relatives
to all that live.”
~ Sioux Prayer
Group Sizes + Teacher/Child Ratios + Staff
Every program has been thoughtfully organized to ensure that all staff and children’s needs can be met during their time at SRB. Close relationships allow children and caregivers to flourish, and we support this by using a primary care model and as few transitions as possible during the first six years of life. In this way, children and caregivers have an opportunity to form secure attachments to each other. Although we can not always predict or prevent mid-year teacher transitions, we believe that the relationships children have during the first few years of life are very important, therefore we take great care during teacher transitions for all involved. We are honored to be in the lives of children and view this opportunity as a privilege and gift.
Whenever possible, we ask our teachers to give a one year commitment to their kinship and to do their best to support new teachers taking their place by participating in training them through the transition. This supports the transition process for everyone.
Balance between the Masculine and Feminine
Although it is not always in our control, we aim to have a balance of male and female bodied teachers in every location. We feel that it is of utmost importance to balance the field of work and childrearing between women and men. Masculine energy resides within each of us, as does feminine energy, and having positive role models of both qualities from a young age is crucial for human development. We value choice, options and a balance between the masculine and feminine in every layer of care provided to young children.
Going beyond the binary, we value parents, teachers and children who do not identify with a gender. We support language use that is inclusive and non-binary and are always eager to grow and enhance our understanding about all the ways we can address the variety of human bodies that make up our community.
All staff are fingerprinted and enrolled in the Central Background Registry, a database that continuously tracks people’s standing with the law. All staff are certified in First Aid, Food Handling, CPR, Safe Sleep, Prevention is Better than Treatment, Intro to Health and Safety, Foundations for Learning, and Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse. At minimum, all staff members receive sixty hours of onsite training and 15 hours of continuing education training annually, and often much more.
The Care We Offer Our Teachers
Teacher schedules are set with regular hours throughout the week. The teaching teams have a mix of part-time and full-time schedules to help minimize teacher burnout. Teachers are given gifts of appreciation seasonally to help honor and support all the love and care they provide the children in our kinships.
As Nourishing Earth Institute develops its offerings, staff will have access to classes and trainings at a significantly reduced rate and will have the support of professional courses as well as a dynamic holistic community that fosters personal development.
“It is a happy talent to know
how to play.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are committed to continuously evolving our vision and practices and finding new avenues for connecting to our surrounding communities.
We want to hear from you and invite you to collaborate with us.
We are seeking:
Folks who can support us in bringing Nourishing Earth Institute’s vision to fruition.
Opportunities to bring elders and children together.
Opportunities to collaborate with local intentional businesses that wish to offer thoughtful high-quality childcare to their employees.
Individuals who wish to share their time and talent with our kinship kids in the fields of nature, culture and creative expression, and parent-teacher education offerings.
Individuals who can help us bring this enriching program to underserved populations.
If you are called to act on any of these collaborations, contact us at: email@example.com
“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children”