Developmental Practice

Johanna and Olivia have a way of making intentional developmental teaching seem as natural as play.
— -Anna Pepito, First Grade Teacher and Mother of One

The teaching strategies at Storybrook Oakland are purposefully natural.  We work to meet the needs of your child as an individual, and as a part of a rich learning community. 

Years of research and experience guide our work.  We focus on developmentally based strategies to help your child grow socially, emotionally, cognitively, and physically.

Humans are built to learn and grow. Our guiding assumption is that children are capable and intelligent beings.  With respect and admiration, we watch, listen, and respond, enabling a natural process to unfold.

As teachers, we empower, rather than second guess.  We trust, rather than push.  We inspire, rather than demand.  We model, rather than direct.  We know our role as teacher is an important one, and we take great care with it.


-We use thought pushing prompts: Children have the never-ending job of growing their understanding about the world around them.  At Storybrook Oakland, we use prompts to allow children to think and explore their ideas more fully. The way in which we talk with children allow us to put the thinking, understanding, experimenting, and decision-making into their hands.  Our day will be rich in conversation so that children's ideas can grow.

-We use documentation: Reggio Emilia-inspired teaching focuses on the learning children do naturally when piqued by curiosity.  Children see their growth as learners through documentation: the thoughts, conversations, and observations recorded though notes and picture-taking.  Documenting children's play-based learning allows us to provide clarity, gives children opportunities for reflection, and encourages them to explore their ideas further.  You will see evidence of this documentation on our bulletin boards, in children's work, and in our newsletters.

-We understand development is a continuum: Storybrook Oakland uses developmental stages and early learning milestones to monitor your child's growth in our care.  The developmental continuum is a tool that is shared with parents and referred to by teachers.  We will keep you informed about your child's current skills as well as skills he or she is approaching that can use extra focus.  

-We model: At school we continue the role of the parent in demonstrating how to navigate daily life.  We communicate with each other and the children with intention.  We recognize that by showing children how we converse kindly, treat our environment with care, and ask for the things that we need, children replicate what they see and hear.  Students begin to own the language themselves, asking over a meal, "So, how is your day going?" telling a friend, "Please don't crumple my paper next time,"  or suggesting, "Why don't we read it together?"  By witnessing positive teacher and peer interactions, they learn the power of communication.

*Please refer to our Heart, Brain, and Body sections of our Mission Statement to see more about the way in which we focus on early development.