Honoring one another.
The vibrant growth of children stems from recognizing and respecting that we are all born whole, with individual character intact. The simple act of changing diapers for example, needn’t be just another task, but rather an opportunity for verbal communication by leaning into the child’s feelings. “Is there a spot that isn’t feeling very nice?” “Are you feeling refreshed?” Even with infants, thoughtful interaction and experiences centered in affirmation, develops a sense of emotional equilibrium, and preferences toward comfort and hygiene. And as those infants become toddlers, they develop greater strength to think and act at their own will. When we remove preconceived notions like “a child can only do so much”, children flourish, manifesting their greatest developmental potential. This is why we do not “treat children like children”. We honor one another. This is the fundamental principle behind ChaCha’s approach to nursery education.
Children learn. We support.
In recent years, neuroscientists have learnt that 80% of the synapses that wire our brains, are constructed by the time we are 2 years old. In just a couple years, a remarkable amount of learning has already begun. This is precisely why when we interact with infants, we communicate through the eyes, through expression, and through words. By the time children are toddlers, they have the strength to express and move in ways that go far beyond the full understanding and judgement of adults. In furnishing all instructions or answers without dialogue, we are in fact curtailing development. In these times where we’ve recognized that there is no one right answer, an answer is something that is designed by each individual. What we can do as adults is be present, by thinking and discussing together.
Nourishing the mind and body through food.
Food isn’t simply a means to satisfy hunger. It is also an opportunity nurture the five senses. ChaCha’s meals are handmade in-house. We make intentional decisions around ingredient selection based on taste, texture, smell, and color, and we use ceramic dishware that is lovely to touch. Meal planning is rooted in the mission to broaden children’s interest in food. As such, our dishes are based in Japanese cuisine, with great focus on seasonality, while also incorporating inspiration from culinary cultures across the globe. All the while, taking utmost care to manage individual needs, such as allergy restrictions. Meals are enjoyed buffet-style by toddlers, to foster their instinct to select, serve, and eat at their own discretion. At first toddlers may serve themselves too much and only of their favorites, but soon they learn to take only as much as they can finish, select variety, and extend their attention to ensuring that there’s enough food for their peers. We believe that when one carries a positive outlook on eating, one also carries a positive outlook on living. This is why ChaCha’s food education methodology places food in the center of the learning experience.
Inclusivity is everyday.
We honor one another, by forgoing categories like child or adult, or man or woman. We respect one other, human to human. We have a much beloved custom at ChaCha. Our Morning Talk. Every morning we gather in a circle to express ideas, listen, and create dialogue in order to deepen our understanding of each other. We even share our thoughts about peers who have taken a day off. Our mixed-age classrooms allow the younger children to be inspired by the older children to take on new or challenging experiences, and the older children develop their natural instinct to look out for the younger children. We strive to create an environment that is not just mixed-age, but mixed in every other way too. By cohabitating, children learn from one another just as they are. Our educators are not called “Sensei” but rather by their names. Every human is invaluable. Every human is the star of their own show. At ChaCha, inclusivity is our everyday ethos.
Window to the world.
bring joy to the community. At another nursery school, they organize “ChaCha Market” and sell the children’s handmade crafts and vegetables grown by a local farmer, to create a time and place for the community to mingle. And there are other nursey schools that have created café spaces for members of the community to gather and relax over a cup of tea. ChaCha is an open door and an open platform for conversation and collaboration, in an effort to nurture diverse perspective and global thinking amongst our children. We are committed to contributing to the creation of real and tangible solutions by openly sharing our learnings and achievements in nursery education. Our goal is to design a community where we place children at the center of our decision making. Rather than simply “nursery school”, we call ourselves ChaCha Children & Co. with this very intention in mind.
Conceiving of a sustainable future.
We cannot speak about society today, without also speaking about sustainability. The most critical issues of our times require us to think long-term and take action based on the reality that goes far beyond a single generation. This is why we place such great emphasis on children and adults working together. The United Nation’s Summit ushered conversation and urged change to ensure a more sustainable future, and adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. At ChaCha, we reference these objectives, as well as support children as they ideate and take action as individual citizens of their communities. Instead of leaving it to others, we encourage children to create their future with their own hands. We believe that it is only in this way, that we can conceive of a truly sustainable future.
Sharing through documentation.
At ChaCha, we believe that it is in the casual everyday, where we find children’s truest growth. In addition to our standard nursery education, we document all of the small yet important changes, to ensure that we are properly aware of each child’s curiosities and endeavors, and celebrate in their development. What do they find interesting? What are they are feeling? What are they are wanting to know? What are they are learning? Documentation helps us to share what we notice with parents and deepen our understanding of the child together. We also share our learnings with society at large, with the goal of stimulating reform and innovation in nursery education and supporting solution-based thinking to our many social issues.
The responsibility and pride of our team.
Through nursery education, infants have the opportunity to learn some of life’s most valuable skills as they grow into adulthood, like ambition, cooperation, tenacity, perseverance, preparation, and creativity. The entire team of educators, kitchen staff, and nurses, must all face the enormity of our roles, as we leverage our professional skills to support the youngest members of our society through some of their most critical years. In order to effectively execute ChaCha’s mission “to nurture empathy within our children”, educators work together to learn, think, and deepen our mutual understanding. Without nurturing our own growth, we are unable to nurture our children’s growth. This is our responsibility. This is our pride.