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  • Marisa Ramsey

New Year. New Home.

Smart Start is a Reggio Emilia-inspired learning center. That means we believe that the environment serves as a "third teacher". Students explore, adults guide, encourage, and instruct, and the environment provokes wonder, joy, and curiosity. We have been dreaming of a space like the one we found in the former Russell County Public Library since the beginning. The light, the layout, and the overall feeling is just right for our young learners and we are so happy to be in our new home.

ArtWorks board, staff, and volunteers worked feverishly last week to get Smart Start moved and ready for today. We still have some great things in store for our classrooms and the rest of the building. Over the next couple weeks our students will find new things to inspire and excite them. What a joy to make a new home for our happy group of learners!

We kept today pretty low-key. We didn't jump into any new concepts or work on any process art. Today was for settling in. We took our time and let the children get to know this place and some of the fun new things in it. One of the biggest blessings of this new space is that we are able to fill it up with more things that spark creativity and curiosity. These shelves (thank you RCPL for leaving us so many!) are wonderful. We cannot wait to fill them with more and more things for our students to try.

As you look through the photos you will notice that we like to fill the learning spaces with a balance of real objects (actual dish towels, fresh flowers, and actual laundry detergent bottles) and manipulatives (blocks, light tables, etc). Our goal is to create learning environments that reflect home. Your home is where your child learns first, most often, and in ways that are most lasting. Our hope is that every child will feel at home every day and that what they learn at Smart Start will flow naturally with what they learn at home.

Thank you for being patient and giving us the extra time we needed to make our nest in the new building. Today, was pure joy. Happy New Year, Smart Start! And welcome home!

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