Our Philosophy

At Emerald Heart, we honor and nourish the unique inner landscape of each child through daily focus on social and emotional development, physical development, creative thinking and expression, and nature connection.

Social and Emotional Development

We nourish caring relationships among children, teachers, parents and Nature. We emphasize social skills, including respectful communication. 


Children learn to listen while others are speaking and learn to take turns. 


We honor that all emotions are natural and that certain behaviors are more skillful than others. With respect, we encourage children to notice the impact of aggressive or hurtful behavior. 


Children learn that “It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to hit.” and “It’s okay to feel frustrated, but it’s not okay to grab a toy away from a friend.”


We value self-worth and know that confidence grows as children learn to take care of themselves and learn to help others. 


Children learn to wash their hands before eating and how to keep personal belongings in their cubby or backpack. Children are encouraged to help each other and to contribute to classroom tasks, such as preparing snack or tidying up after playtime.


We know that children learn through imitation. Teachers role model care and compassion as well as skillful communication. 

Physical Development

We prioritize physical health and well-being. 


Children start their day with a morning ritual of washing hands.


Children take daily walks, engage in creative movement and play outdoors—climbing, balancing, running and jumping. They practice their fine motor skills through cooking, art and craft making, building and collecting. 

Nature Connection 

We honor Nature and her seasons through stories, songs, creative movement and art making.


During Circle Time, children sing, move and recite verses that joyfully express the seasons and the richness of the natural world. 


Much of our day, we explore, play and rest in, with and as Nature.


Children discover and experiment in and with the forest. They learn how to listen deeply. They are encouraged to tune into and trust their own body’s wisdom.


We nourish caring relationships between children and other-than-human neighbors.


Children befriend trees, insects, plants and animals and ‘document’ these friendships through a year-long Nature Journal.

Creative Thinking and Expression

We value creativity and know that creative thinking now leads to problem solving and innovation later in life. We respect and value each child’s unique gifts and encourage these gifts to be creative resources for all of us.


Children are encouraged to express their unique ideas through conversation and word play, imaginative play and art making.