The LifeWays Philosophy
- Young children thrive in the presence of parents and other
devoted caregivers who enjoy life and caring for children. They learn
primarily through imitation/empathy and, therefore, need to be cared
for by people with integrity and warmth who are worthy of being
imitated. This is the foundation for learning and healthy
- Having consistent caregivers, especially from birth to
three years old and, preferably, up to primary school age, is essential
for establishing a sense of trust and well-being.
- Children need relationship with people of all ages. Infants
and toddlers thrive in family-style blended-age care, while older
children see nurturing modeled by the adults and experience their own
place in the continuum of growing up. Children of all ages can both
give and receive special blessing when in the company of elders and
youth who enjoy children.
- Each person is uniquely valuable, gifted with purpose and
worthy of respect throughout all phases of his or her life’s journey.
- Human relationship and activity are the essential tools for
teaching the young child all foundational skills for life. Infants
and toddlers develop most healthily when allowed to have freedom of
movement in a safe environment. For three- to six-year-olds, creative
play -- not technology or early academics -- forms the best foundation for
school work and for life-long learning.
- In infancy and early childhood, daily life experience is
the “curriculum.” The child’s relationships to the caregivers and to
the environment are the two most important aspects through which the
child can experience healthy life rhythms/routines. These include the
“nurturing arts” of rest and play, regular meal times, exploring
nature, practical/domestic activities, social creativity, music, and
simple artistic activities.
- Young children thrive in a home or home-like environment
that offers beauty, comfort and security, and connection to the living
world of nature. Healthy sense development is fostered when most of
their clothing and playthings are of non-synthetic materials and their
toys allow for open-ended, imaginative play.
- Childhood is a valid and authentic time unto itself and not
just a preparation for schooling. Skipping or hurrying developmental
phases can undermine a child’s healthy and balanced development.
- Parents of young children need and deserve support in their
path of parenting—from professionals, family, and one another. They
thrive in a setting where they are loved, respected, and helped to feel
love and understanding for their children.
- Caregivers also have an intrinsic purpose and need to be
recognized and appropriately compensated for the value of their work.
They need an environment where they can create an atmosphere of “home,”
build true relationship to the children, and feel autonomous and
RIE Principles also inform how we provide care at StarSong:
- Basic trust in the child to be an initiator, an explorer, and a self-learner
- An environment for the child that is physically safe, cognitively challenging, and emotionally nurturing
- Time for uninterrupted play
- Freedom to explore and interact with other infants
- Involvement of the child in all care activities to allow the child to become an active participant rather than a passive recipient.
- Sensitive observation of the child in order to understand their needs
- Consistency and clearly defined limits and expectations to develop discipline