Tender Roots is a cooperative toddler program inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach.  Tender Roots hopes to provide engaging and nurturing experiences for young children, while in the daily security of their parent/caregiver.  Teachers support children and parents in the learning process by developing open-ended activities as well as planning opportunities to come together as a community.

Tender Roots is inspired by the philosophies of the Reggio Emilia Approach (REA) and Howard Gardner. The REA was named for the town in Italy where this educational approach was developed after World War II by Loris Malaguzzi.  These schools are based on the understanding that, even at a very young age, children are curious learners who want to find out about the world and are able to express themselves about the world through speech, painting, clay modeling or drawing. The Reggio school, Scuola dell’infanzia Diana, in Reggio Emilia, Italy was selected by Newsweek in 1991 to be the best preschool in the world for early childhood education.

Children at Tender Roots chose the direction of their learning, while teachers and parents serve as guides and documenters.  

Howard Gardner, who is known for his theory of “multiple intelligences,” is a supporter of the Reggio philosophy. His theory of multiple intelligences naturally combines with the Reggio Emilia Approach.  Gardener initially formulated a list of seven intelligences found in people.  He claims that the intelligences rarely operate independently. We embodied all of them but to varying degrees.  The eight intelligences are linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.  Using the theory of “multiple intelligences” helps the teachers of Tender Roots guide the children in their preferred learning style, as well as provide a well-rounded curriculum. Combining the Reggio Emilia Approach with the theory of “multiple intelligences” will ensure that Tender Roots provides the highest quality of early education to its children. These philosophies support Tender Roots in being a representation of the neighborhood and a place for all children.