With an emphasis on social-emotional development and problem-solving skills, children engage in hands-on meaningful learning experiences that promote critical thinking, creative solutions and collaboration. Children’s curiosity is combined with an expertly guided investigative approach to immerse children in the process and joy for learning and discovery.

Inquiry-based learning

We at Big and Tiny believe that children learn by making their own choices and correcting their own mistakes. Our goal is to make your child’s exploration of the world as immersive as possible, engaging them in meaningful & authentic learning experiences, placing children at the center of pedagogy from an inquiry perspective, and ensuring that children’s interests are foreground.

Learning Process

Role of the Teacher

The combination of our passionate and highly experienced team of master teachers and master artists allows us to create the appropriate environment for collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. Teachers spend one-on-one time with each child, guiding them toward self-directed activities, which helps children develop self-discipline, self-sustainability and self-discovery.

    Teachers will:

    • Recognize opportunities to initiate inquiry through a question, problem or idea.
    • Support children to theorize, hypothesize and wonder.
    • Provide opportunities for children to become more confident and autonomous problem-solvers and thinkers.
    • Design and organize  learning experiences that can be repeated or returned to, and that lend themselves to active engagement in purposeful learning.
    • Generate data collection, analysis, portfolios and exhibitions.

    Role of the Student

    Big and Tiny stands toward a child-centered curriculum that positions the child as an active participant and provides students with many options for exploring the environment. Children initiate the inquiry by posing factual and exploratory questions based on personal interests and experiences.

      Students will:

      • Work as researchers, inferring, hypothesizing, predicting, investigating, experimenting and recording.
      • Use their skills in decision-making, planning and problem solving.
      • Reflect, rethink, reframe their questions, problems or ideas.
      • Share new learning with others and plan for future learning.

      Our learning wall is the visual display of artifacts gathered together that represents students’ thinking about different issues and topics. This is, the journey of the group’s thinking and learning over a period of time. Our teachers at Big and Tiny give careful attention to the documentation and presentation of the thinking of the students, which helps them build the curriculum and organize group and individual projects.

      A Day in Preschool

      Our Preschool Program runs Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm and 8 am to 6 pm. Lunch is included in the program daily, courtesy of Tiny Spoon..

      Let’s say hello! – Arrival

      When children first arrive to Big and Tiny, they sign in for attendance, store their belongings in their cubby, remove their shoes, say goodbye to their grown-ups for the day and greet their friends. Then children review the job list that includes the responsibilities for the day (feed the fish or take care of the plants for instance) and get ready for the morning meeting.

      Let’s meet! – Day group meeting 

      Children gather as a whole group to build a responsive classroom in which they contribute to the expectations and plans for the day. During the meeting, new topics, issues and questions are presented and proposed for further discovery and exploration.

      Let’s work! Discovery and exploration about selected topics.

      During this time children have the opportunity to work in small groups or independently on topics previously chosen. Work stations with a variety of materials are provided to allow students to work on their own projects: art, music, writing, reading materials, etc. Children can then share their findings and thoughts to the rest of the group through projects or presentations practicing their communication, confidence, and reading and writing skills.

      Let’s eat! – Snack and story

      Let’s read and share! – Read-a-loud

      Book sharing among students and teachers take place at different times of the day. These books are selected according to the topics that the children are working on.

      Visual Thinking Strategies allow students to develop critical thinking by describing, analyzing, and interpreting imagery and information through observing and discussing visual art.

      Interactive story time is led by the Master Teaching Artist in residence.

      Let’s eat! – Snack/lunch & socialization

      Children come together for a nutritious meal. They are encouraged to discuss their various meals with each other, sparking thoughtful conversations about health and sustainability. Healthy lunches are provided by Little Spoon. 

      Let’s play and learn! – Outdoor play & active learning

      Children develop large motor functions through group games, outdoor play, dancing, and community walks around the neighborhood and Rockefeller Park. Appreciation for the natural world is developed through gardening, observation of seasonal changes, and exploration of living things. This time includes right brain / left-brain exercise, literacy development, and social-emotional growth.

      Let’s explore!– Student-driven observations

      Every day Big and Tiny educators stage thoughtful centers around the learning space as proposals for concepts of exploration, which children are free to explore and decide independently what they would like to focus on and discover. Experiences include art, sensory, science, math, literacy, blocks, sand, and water. During this time, teachers assess, observe, and document each student’s progress and interactions.

      Let’s reflect! – End-of-day reflections

      Group gathering to reflect on their work and possibilities for the next day. Time to share connections, questions and ideas. This time often incorporates an exercise in mindfulness, gratitude, and guided movement.

      Let’s say goodbye! – Dismissal routines

      To transition to go home at the close of the day, children work together to tidy up, change their shoes, gather their belongings and say goodbye. Children are encouraged to share what they are looking forward to when they return to school.

      The Learning Environment

      The classroom environment at Big and Tiny is designed with multiple workspaces to allow students to work individually, in small groups, and in large groups. Our goal is to provide children access to a varied selection of resources and materials so they can work independently on their projects and to gain experience with various ways of working.

      • Art Lab with easels, painting and art equipment.
      • Dress up and drama props.
      • Pretend play area for imaginative play.
      • Reading nook with books and puppet theatre.
      • Science materials, water and sand.
      • Building station.
      • Fish tank.
      • Plants.
      • Music corner and instruments.
      • Rugs, sofa, and poufs.
      • Little gym with indoor play structure for active play

      Program Objectives

      Independence & Autonomy.

      Building independence and autonomy allows your little one to create a sense of mastery over their body and their environment.  Fostering independence supports critical thinking, encourages intrinsic motivation and inspires competency and self-confidence. With constant, individualized support from their teachers, children learn how to take care of themselves and each other. 

      Social Emotional Development.

      With an emphasis on social emotional development, students at Big and Tiny will form long lasting friendships, learn to communicate emotions, and to deal with challenges. Strong, positive relationships will allow children develop trust, empathy, compassion and understanding the emotions of others. 

      Language & Communication.  

      At this age, learners’ vocabulary expands quickly. Our goal is to help children solve problems and learn fundamental concepts. Through open-ended questions children develop conversational skills, their own ideas and opinions as well as their own narratives and explanations.

      Creative Expression.

      At Big and Tiny, your little one will explore the boundless spectrum of emotion inside them and will practice limitless forms of analyzing and expressing them. As they take part in theatre, singing, dancing, painting, meditation and more, your child is bound to discover the form of creative expression and gravitate towards different art forms and expressive tools.  

      For Parents: Preschool Program FAQs

      The Big and Tiny Brookfield studio in Battery Park, NYC is scheduled to open in early May of 2022. Our full-time Preschool Program is slated to begin September 2022. Our Preschool Program operates on a traditional September to June school year (10 month) schedule.

      Families are welcome to pre-register starting in March to reserve their spots. Due to limited capacity, we recommend reserving your spot immediately.

      The Preschool Program runs 5 days a week (Monday to Friday) from 8am to 3pm every day, with an additional option for late pickup as late as 6pm.

      Big and Tiny’s Preschool Program is open to families with children ages 3 years to 5 years. The program is of mixed-age, being sub-divided into two groups based on age as needed.

      The Preschool group size is never larger than 15 children. Preschool Program groups are led by a certified group teacher and a master teaching artist as support. 

      Prior to enrollment, Big and Tiny recommends that your family schedule a virtual or in-person tour with our team to learn more about our studios and services.

      To reserve your little one’s spot in the Preschool Program, the first month’s membership payment is required as deposit. This deposit is refundable until June 1, 2022. Upon commencing the Preschool Program, monthly payment will be charged to your credit card on file every first of the month beginning October 1, 2022.

      Memberships for enrollment to the Preschool Program renew every 30 days. Please note that Big and Tiny requires families to commit to the duration of the school year (September to June). By enrolling in the Preschool Program, you understand that you are responsible for continuing monthly membership payments until June of 2023.

      Please fill out an inquiry form so that we may send you additional information about the program, pricing, and registration/enrollment process.

      Separation is undoubtedly one of the most important and difficult developmental processes for both children and parents, and can take anywhere from one day to several weeks. While some children experience an easy transition, others have a much harder time adjusting. The majority of children fall somewhere in between.

      Prior to your little one’s start of program, our preschool educators will create a personalized plan with your family to identify which best practices are most appropriate for your unique situation to ensure a successful separation process where both parent and child feel comfortable.

      No, your little one does not need to be potty trained to be enrolled in the Big and Tiny Preschool Program. We understand that every child develops at their own unique pace.

      If a young preschooler is using diapers or pull-ups, they will be checked at least every two hours and upon waking, and will be changed promptly when soiled or wet. Please note that Big and Tiny educators do not apply baby powder for safety and health reasons. Parents are to supply diapers and any diaper cream for their children. Diaper cream must be labeled with the child’s name and is for individual use only. A form must be completed by the parent granting permission to our staff to apply diaper cream.

      At Big and Tiny we understand that the process of toilet training is a combined family-teacher effort and that every child processes this developmental milestone differently. It is important that educators and parents agree to the same toilet training plan in order to make the experience successful and as easy as possible. Big and Tiny is committed to working with you to make sure that your little one’s toilet training is carried out in a manner that is consistent with your child’s physical and emotional abilities and needs.

      Some young preschoolers still require naps throughout the day while others do not. If a child needs a nap or quiet time at any point in the day, our educators are accommodating. 

      For preschoolers with the capacity to climb out of a crib, we provide cots or mats with organic cotton bedding for the child’s maximum comfort.

      Any personal belongings must be labeled with your child’s full name.

      Here is a list of personal items you are allowed to bring to the center:

      • Extra clothing. Children have accidents and their clothes become dirty. Please make sure to include an additional set or two with each article labeled with your child’s name.
      • Optional snacks or lunch. Snacks and lunch (including some baby food options) will be provided daily by Little Spoon. If you prefer to pack your own snack or lunch options, you are more than welcome to do so.
      • Diapers andwipes, if applicable.
      • Diaper cream, if applicable.
      • Sunscreen.
      • Comforting toy for nap-time, if applicable (e.g. blanket or pacifier, etc.).
      • Medications, if applicable.

      Please make sure you do not bring any of the following:

      • Toys. Children should not bring personal toys, books, or stuffed animals. We cannot ensure that these items will not be lost.
      • Large backpacks or bags. Our cubbies are small and storage space is limited, so please do not bring more than is necessary.
      • Car seats cannot be left at the center. There is very limited stroller parking available and is subject to availability. 

      During extended hours children engage with multiple age appropriate enrichment classes, led by our Master Teaching Artists in residence.

      Yes! Our educators and staff document program activities daily, summarized by a collection of photos and descriptions at the end of each day. Educators also include individualized notes specific to your child.

      Daily reports are shared with you privately and securely via the Brightwheel app. There you will also be able to save photos, comment or reply to reports received.

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