A new children’s education centre opening in Richmond aims to encourage children’s emotional and social well-being through a philosophy that emphasizes healthy brain development, collaborative learning, and connection with nature.
The brand new Sequoia Children’s Learning Community offers two different programs: for children from six months to three years, and for children from ages three to five.
With a curriculum inspired by Reggio Emilia and the British Columbia Early Learning Framework, children will be guided in projects and activities that foster teamwork and creativity, pushing them to communicate, collaborate, and problem-solve with one another.
“In order for a child’s brain to be open to learning, a child must first feel emotionally secure and content,” says Victoria Lim, Sequoia Children's Learning Community manager. “If a child is emotionally stressed, their brain becomes preoccupied, which doesn’t allow any space for learning.”
This is where Sequoia’s curriculum draws on nature as a tool to help children relieve stress and calm their senses to increase their capacity for exploration and learning.
“We have a huge outdoor space, which is rare in the city,” Lim says. “Our centre is on a farmland with a beautiful trail beside it. We have a great landscape for our children to explore and learn.”
In addition to helping children handle moments of overstimulation, the outdoor area also provides space for children to move their bodies and develop their senses, in order to encourage physical literacy.
Rather than emphasizing academics, Sequoia’s philosophy focuses on helping children learn how to identify their emotions and develop coping strategies, particularly to prepare them for entry into the school system.
“Through studying the research related to child development, we’ve found that a lot of early years children are actually ready for school in terms of cognitive development. They’re great at retaining information. But there isn’t enough focus on their emotional well-being,” Lim says. “Much of the research shows that children who are socially and emotionally developed tend to grow into adults who attain higher grades, earn higher wages, and feel much happier long-term.”
As an educator, Lim sees success as the ability for children to become whoever they want to be.
“By teaching children early on to be aware of their emotions and how to be in harmony with others, we provide them with strong foundational skills to help them create and experience more happiness and success, not just in a classroom, but in rest of their lives,” Lim says.
Right now, Sequoia has a special fee promotion in place, including a promotion for a free month in the Over 3 program.