The Nido community values and nurtures secure, loving relationships as paramount to our philosophy. Children must first feel a genuine sense of belonging to before they engage in meaningful learning. Relationships are built upon understanding students individually, sharing experiences, and fostering a trusting environment. We believe that children with secure attachments to their teachers and peers feel safe to express their thoughts, ideas and opinions. Supportive, caring relationships are foundational in guiding children to understand themselves, their community and the world around them.

Teachers build the Nido curriculum in response to children’s interests, strengths, needs and abilities as they unfold. Our approach celebrates children’s innate curiosity and inspires them to investigate deeper into their wonderings. As children question and explore their world, they are encouraged to notice and explore multiple perspectives, ideas and possibilities. Teachers tune in to the way their students think and learn as individuals. As they listen to children’s questions and hypotheses, they provoke them to think deeper through questioning, sharing perspectives and offering resources to explore. In this way, we view learning as a two way process, where students are seen as capable and interest is a strong intrinsic motivator.

Nido’s educational philosophy honors children’s natural drive for exploring the world around them, and transforms their curiosity into conceptual understanding. The fundamental goal of learning changes from finding the “right” answer to investigating, researching and inquiring into the world around them. Children are motivated by their interests, and questions are encouraged. Traditional approaches to education are deductive in nature- children are given a rule to apply to a given situation to get the “right answer.” Nido places students at the forefront of the learning process. Students are active participants in their learning as they employ inductive approaches to learning. They engage in seeking, exploring, hypothesizing and gathering information to sort and analyze. They synthesize information, seek out underlying patterns and compare and connect this to previously held knowledge. Throughout this process, they build conceptual understanding and learning moves beyond simply memorizing “the facts.” In this way, children forge connections between and amongst concepts, and learning goes beyond isolated subjects to an integrated, interdisciplinary view of their world.

We help children build the capacity to joyfully engage in lifelong learning through cultivating a positive view of learning and developing transferable life skills. We believe in fostering student’s disposition towards an inquiring mind with a growth mindset. When students immerse themselves in the process of learning, they simultaneously build their disposition towards lifelong learning while developing the skill set to know how to approach learning the unknown. This includes becoming self-directed learners with strong collaboration and teamwork skills, effectively communicating ideas and perspectives, engaging in research, planning and forethought, developing critical thinking skills and problem solving capacities. When students engage in inquiries in the classroom, we consider how these dispositions and skills can be relevant and applied to other parts of their lives, in different contexts, situations and environments.

The Nido learning environment is a place and space of children’s own, that evolves with them as they engage in the learning process. It intentionally makes students’ learning visible and tells the story of learning rather than simply serving as a display. Student spaces reflect the process students engage in during their learning, and provides opportunities for them to revisit their learning and reflect on their growing ideas and perspectives. It serves as a teacher, and is designed to foster independence and offer choice to students. Ample time is provided for children to wonder, reflect and seek out answers. Children are given space and time to “do the thinking” and make discoveries for themselves. The indoor and outdoor classroom environments offer a wide variety of purposefully selected materials, resources and workspaces that invite exploration and expression. Children are encouraged to share their ideas and perspectives and diversity is celebrated.

Our curriculum bridges classroom learning with real world applications that are driven by local and global issues. We believe in providing opportunities for children to develop a sense of belonging to our larger, global community. As students explore connections, patterns and experiences amongst peoples, cultures and nature they build their understanding of our shared humanity. This guides their perspective of their place in our interconnected world, as well as their roles and responsibilities as global citizens.