Greenway's time tested academic activities build children's knowledge of their ABC's and 123's as well as prepare them and ensure they attain all of the markers necessary for entrance into a Kindergarten program! Beyond that, it is crucial that they develop coping skills, a sense of their authentic place in the natural world, and the ability to think creatively and critically! By learning to care for their surroundings, experiencing free creative time, having lightly guided natural social interactions, time for quiet exploration, children are able to develop a healthy sense of self, social responsibility and life skills.
As more and more research comes to light on the benefits of open ended provocations, outdoor learning, art as a teacher and meditation and mindfulness as a base for lifelong balance, our program at Greenway is assured to change the way a child moves through their world!
Part of our unique and time tested program, is our Greenway Garden. Every Spring we plant and grow our own organic garden that the children start from seed and enjoy all Summer! Our program also provides dailyfresh air and outdoor time to get their yaya's out!
A Message from Greenway Founder, Deb Miller:
"As a child, I spent many hours roaming the 80 acres of woods behind my house in Plainfield Township, getting to know the trees, rocks and woodland animals. I loved sketching pictures of the world around me, building things, riding horses and growing things in the garden!
When it came time to find care for my own children, I looked around at what was available and thought...we can do better. So I brought my love of the outdoors, art and common sense to a new generation of children who otherwise may only get to know a plastic world. More and more research comes out weekly providing the science behind our program. "Creativity will save the world".
Greenway is my passion and giving today's children the opportunity to meet the world up close and experience it's vitality through art and self expression is my mission."
WHAT OUR TEACHERS SAY:
I've worked in the "warehouses" of child care and I'm so glad that Greenway is not that way.
I enjoy the freedom to infuse our lessons with our own personal interests and ideas that might not be 'main stream'.
I love that we teach a sense of global citizenship. We teach the interconnectedness of every living thing and respect for all beings.
I appreciate that we are able to shape the perspective of the future generation to use love and critical thinking skills when interacting with their environment and fellow denizens.
As a mother, I agree with our philosophy of independence. It makes sense that kids are taught how to do something and be allowed to do it! (even if they don't do it perfectly right away; failure is a part of success)
I was raised in a Waldorf/Montessori-inspired household, & I watched my mother struggle for years against a rigid school system to return her classroom to the kind of back-to-basics, common sense education we give at Greenway. I'm so fortunate to have found such a perfect embodiment of the ideals I grew up with. I love that we nurture the whole child, while fostering independence and encouraging creative expression. I love our focus on nature and the arts. I love the freedom to allow organic learning to happen through spontaneous exploration.
I love the supportive community we are; it truly is like a big extended family. (That feeling of belonging is so essential for all of us!)
I love that we teach respect and appreciation of all people and all living things.
I love that we understand the importance of messy play! We are seeing a sharp uptick in sensory disorders as children spend less time outside than previous generations. Greenway kids play in the dirt and run barefoot in the grass; in this country, we're only beginning to realize how important that is for healthy development.
When I started at my new school, a few of my coworkers were skeptical about the amount of trust I put in my kids. Glass containers for crayons? Free access to scissors, paper and playdough? A big bowl of beads for stringing? Daily yoga and meditation? Shakespeare, Mozart, ballet, fine art? You realize these are 3-year-old's, right? It made me doubt myself, honestly, even though I was fully confident in the ability of these children to navigate this environment successfully. I wondered for a little while if maybe I was over-reaching and setting myself (& my kids) up for failure. But I knew what worked because I had seen it work at Greenway. Halfway through the school year, the same teachers who expressed anxiety/confusion about my methods are eager to learn more about them. And the kids, of course, are blossoming beautifully.
Because of my experience at Greenway, I developed the confidence and sense of purpose that served as the foundation for this growth The children are so loved and cared for. We help guide them through social experiences and see challenges as opportunities to learn.
I can say something unique and special about all the teachers I’ve worked with! Deb you really allowed such an open platform for professional and personal growth, trust me you do not find centers like that! I really miss the feeling of family. Sisterhood! I sadly do not have that now even though everyone is nice. With the rigidity of Stars 4, we barely have time to connect as human beings! So many clipboards and forms to complete. This paperwork is supposed to help me stay on top of how my toddlers are growing and developing right? Quite the opposite!
The world is beautiful and unpredictable; teaching kids who will eventually be adults to actually listen, sympathize and think about others, being aware of themselves and to have the ability to explore interests in is invaluable, it's simple, pure, and magical. Just some of the reasons that I love my job at GW, amongst the sisterhood of course.
I have worked At a couple of different childcare facilities. Even though each is unique in their own way. Greenway has made a huge impact on my life. To this day their down to earth go green way of doing things is still done in my household. I am so happy I get to pass on and have my children learn and explore as I once did as a child! There is nothing better then giving back to Mother Earth and teaching our children to do the same.
Greenway is more family like, follow the kids leads, try your guys hardest to follow parents wishes, are the most 'lax' when it comes to bottles/breastmilk and even cloth diapers (some centers give such a hard time to parent such a hard time). You guys prefer non-battery junk which some centers are filled with it. You guys are much more open ended and actually enjoy being able to bring the kids outside and let siblings see each other....let alone Julie's and everyone's understanding of food allergies and actual comprehension of how serious they can be! I would never send my kids anywhere else!
The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind about Greenway is the abundance of “technology free” and developmentally enriching play and activities for the children. Many child care programs have video games or tablets as an option for play time. There’s so much technology involved in life these days and I feel that kids playing with toys like blocks or a play kitchen is much more important developmentally to build problem solving skills and imagination. I also love how they get to experience the outdoors at Greenway in an unrestrictive, yet safe way. For example, playing with dirt, sticks, etc....it seems so simple, but many centers don’t allow it for fear of injury or sickness, or parents getting upset about dirty clothes....but with the proper supervision it’s completely safe, not to mention a normal and healthy childhood activity.
When I started Greenway I had never been in a nature based/loose parts center before, much less had taught in one. I was a little unsure because for many years I taught pre k in a traditional setting. I learned quickly how all of our lessons interacted. The art, science and all the other cognitive learning all connects in a fun, nature based program. The kids taking off their shoes, doing yoga, centering themselves with meditation, all helped me too. I have never been in a center where all the kids were so close and genuinely loved one another. For years I told my class "put down the stick, you'll hurt someone." How silly is that really? I've seen my class play for an hour with a stick! I like to think I learned a lot and even though I have "retired " I will cherish all the amazing things Greenway taught me about teaching young children. I would say that Greenway was the best thing that happened to me. The positive energy and lots of outdoor play, which the kids need the most these days are the key things of Greenway. Innovation, sensory and close to life plays, yoga, music and art are another things that make Greenway different. I can just go on and on. Greenway is a center where I would say that kids can be kids
Thanks again Deb for giving me a chance to be a part of Greenway !!!