The focus of Los Amiguitos is to enhance the development of the whole
child in a global world, with a focus on:
- problem solving
- socio-emotional intelligence
- inquiry and love of learning
- critical thinking
- respect and sustainability of self, others and Nature.
We seek to help children become culturally and linguistically aware and open minded.
We provide a fun, loving and stimulating environment with activities to enhance the whole child’s development.
At Los Amiguitos, we strive to offer an education adapted to each situation and each child, which integrates all components of the children’s development. Some of our major influences for our philosophy of education are Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Forest Kindergarten, Growing Up Wild, Eco Schools, as well as Project Based, Drama Based, Play Based, Inquiry Based, Story Based, Place Based and Nature Based education.
Benefits of immersion programs
Early childhood is the best time to start picking up a foreign language. Children naturally understand and learn in context, and have a great ability to reproduce sounds from foreign languages. Besides getting a head start in the acquisition of Spanish and French, the children can benefit from learning to communicate with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds and improve communication skills in their own language. Research has proven that immersion programs also enhance the development of children’s right and left brain, their creativity, problem solving, listening skills, flexibility in thinking and linguistic intelligence.
A multi-age community of learners
Multi-age community of learners offers many benefits: Research has pointed out that most students have higher self-esteem, are more helpful and do better academically. It enables each child to really develop at his/her own pace and has proven to raise IQ for the older children as they help and explain to the younger ones.
Though preschoolers and school aged children have separate buildings (we use flexible age range to decide where they would best be); all aged Amiguitos spend a lot of time together in the spacious main area outside. They learn a lot from being together, and our curriculum enables most activities to be done in mixed ages and abilities.
A Nature Oriented education
Here are a few links about the importance and benefits of outdoor education:
Socio-emotional development is as important as academic skills, if not more at this age. It sets the basis for a solid foundation.
Learning to work together, connect, help and care for each other, develop empathy, speak assertively, take turns, listen to others, regulate strong emotions, use breath and safe places are some elements we implement in our school community.
At Los Amiguitos, we follow many components of Conscious Discipline. We also add in elements from Mindfulness which gives us tools to regulate our emotions while developing a sense of gratitude, kindness and compassion. Yoga is also integrated into our everyday lives, especially breathing, centering and reconnecting with our body and self. Both Lila and Natalia are certified yoga teachers.
At Los Amiguitos, there is a strong emphasis on community building among children as well as parents and teachers.
Through many collaborative projects as well as the development of socio-emotional skills, children learn to work together, voice their feelings and listen to others, respect and care for themselves as well as others and our space, and help each other when the need arises.
Regular community gatherings are much fun for all. Children get to do a short performance that celebrates what they have been doing at school (varying from songs, acting, yoga, to shadow puppets, dance, puppets, etc. based on our themes). Then a potluck follows, which allows for all to get to know each other better.
Parents are regularly invited to come share with the children. They read books, do a presentation or project on a religion or culture they’re a part of, or perform dance, music or other art form they practice. It is always very special for all.
During vacation time and days off, play dates and kid exchanges often occur, which are much fun for children while helping out parents.
For quarterly community work mornings, families come together to work on projects at the school. Everyone pitches in together to help maintain our beautiful space, while at the same time making meaningful connections.
Field trips and community camp outs also constitute community builders as well as more life experience for all.
Our community camp outs offer a great way to get to know each other in a more relaxed setting, help each other out, explore our surroundings, get familiar with the importance of understanding and respecting nature, and have fun together!
Children at Los Amiguitos learn how they can make a difference within their community, small or large.
A few examples of their participation have been connecting with elders and presenting puppet shows to them, planting trees at different parks in Austin, collecting and distributing food and clothes to those in need, making art to benefit local organizations, making bird houses and feeders, learning about conserving water and organic gardening, writing letters to raise awareness about the environment, cleaning up creeks and parks, sharing our garden produce with our community and donating to local organizations, planting flowers that attract bees, tending to our organic garden, etc…
Through these actions, connections and learning about community needs, children at Los Amiguitos develop a sense of compassion, empathy, conscience of the importance of helping as well as a sense of empowerment.