All Around Child, Center for Exploration and Development first opened its doors on August 9th, 2004 as a family owned, operated, and oriented center serving children ages 2 weeks to 12 years of age. My lifelong passion and ambition was always working with children. From the time I was just a young girl with a love for babies, to the time that I graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with my BA in Human Development and Family Studies, I knew that this was my future. Even now that I have been educating children and teachers for over 20 years, I find myself continuously being “re-inspired” by the daily ah-hah moments and the giggles and smiles on children’s faces as they explore this ever changing world. I am inspired by their simple creations that turn into huge accomplishments, and I am inspired by the dedication that their teachers have to making a difference in the lives of the children they are present with every day.
As a program, All Around Child has consistently offered families a unique home away from home over the years. Our curriculum is strongly based on educational achievement, the development of well-rounded social skills, and an introduction to the arts. Our state-of-the-art facilities are not only child friendly, safe, and inviting but also fun and full of constant adventure. Our philosophy of teaching children is to encourage them to become “World Wise” by introducing them to science, math, literacy, physical education, the arts, and social studies through a hands-on play-based framework for learning. Our program has remained unique because we are constantly being inspired by the children. By their passion to discover something new, to build something beyond their wildest imaginations, and to see that they can do almost anything they want to if they only try. It is that passion that over the years has brought us to the influence of the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education.
Unlike standardized curriculum models, the Reggio approach to Early Childhood is not a model that is intended to be copied. The intent is that Reggio schools are to act as a mirror in which other schools can see themselves in. As we look at our reflection, we challenge our assumptions and question our practice. There are many approaches to early childhood education, and as educators we must choose from the possibilities. If we know that children are born with amazing potential and capacities to learn, what kind of schools and what kind of teachers do we need to foster those capacities?
So when we ask ourselves as educators that final question of what kinds of schools and what kinds of teachers do these children need, we find ourselves being inspired to bring it to them. They need a constant Window of Opportunity. They need choices, risk-taking, problem solving, hands-on, out in the every-day world experiences. These are things you cannot learn from sitting at a desk, but rather you learn them by doing, asking questions, and reflecting upon the outcomes. By constantly revisiting that mirror as educators, we find new ways to meet every child’s needs and level of development. Each time the child looks back into the mirror, they see new opportunities to help them grow into capable adults that are not afraid to use their potential to think outside of the box. They too are continuously Inspired.
At All Around Child, we want your child and your family to look into the Window of Opportunity and be Inspired. Our desire is for your child to build connections and relationships that will write their story. Their stories will forever remain a part of the story of All Around Child, like pieces to a puzzle. Each piece being important and bringing strength to the group because he or she has a place to fill.
We welcome you to All Around Child.
Jill Serrano, Owner/Director and Family
The All Around Child Family Mural and Window of Opportunity
The mural has been created by the families and children that have been a part of our school family over recent years. It is our hope that one day the artwork will consume the entire wall as you enter the building. It represents the sense of community that we aspire to have at All Around Child.
“Mirrors reflect the wonder of every child as their light shines for us all to see. It is our expectation that each child will go on from All Around Child to grow and change in a significant and lasting way. It is also our expectation that All Around Child will have grown and changed for having had that child and their family as part of our program.
Every family has hopes and dreams for their children. They have created a tile here, that represents their family, as a lasting part of the All Around Child family. We have placed them together at this window of opportunity. The future is reflected here.”
Imagine for a minute your most valuable possession. Think about a stranger coming up to you and saying, “I’ll take care of your valuable possession for you every day. I’ll take good care of it, but I might change it a little because I’d like to have my own relationship with it. You can pick it up from me at the end of each day, but you’ll need to bring it back to me again every morning.”
We take steps to try and build a respectful partnership with our families because we understand what a leap of faith it is for parents to entrust us with their children. We believe that giving families complete information about our program, our philosophy, and policies assures them of our competence, professionalism, and expertise. It is our intention to open the door to supportive two-way communication between our staff and our families. We sincerely thank you for sharing something so valuable with us.