Early Childhood – Gutenberg

Empowering Young Learners From Day One

The Early Childhood program ages 3-5:

We encourage students to practice physical and cognitive skills through problem-solving, teamwork, exploration, and creative expression.

Students learn to excel as critical thinkers and collaborators in order to prepare them for a lifelong love of learning. Parents receive daily documentation to show the progress we are making in our classrooms.

Young Toddler (18 months- 24 months) & Toddler Programs (24 months- 36 months) – Jackson Campus: 

The world is a magical and curious place when you’re young! In harmony with Reggio Emilia and nature-based practices, young toddlers and toddlers are invited to discover the wonders that our classroom and campus have to offer. Children will explore clay, drawing, paint, sand, water, mud, music, and more as we investigate the natural spaces on our campus and the multitude of materials in our classroom. In alliance with both the Reggio Emilia and Nature Based philosophies our approach is a student-centered and constructivist self-guided curriculum that uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. We believe that children are capable and competent from birth and therefore will provide foundational cognitive, language, physical and social/emotional developmental experiences that are driven from children’s curiosities and interests to understand more about the world around them.

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Our Philosophy

We pursue an authentic educational approach grounded in the idea that children are competent, rich in potential, and capable of being the protagonists of their own learning. The multi-age preschool classroom focuses on the interests of the students, with teachers facilitating and guiding the process. Parents are viewed as partners, taking an active role in their children’s education through Parent Nights or volunteering in the classroom.

A young Mountain Academy student looking through a magnifying glass while holding a butterfly net.

Academic Engagement

Our program is strongly influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education and place-based principles. We view our classroom and outdoor learning environments as the third teacher while they cater to the various learning styles through hands-on, project-based activities.

Two young students wearing winter clothing playing and digging in the sand on the Mountain Academy playground.

Character Development

The Early Childhood program focuses largely on building social-emotional skills. Students learn to develop relationships, collaborate, and resolve conflicts through problem-solving and restorative practices.

A student holding a leaf up to a Mountain Academy teacher's nose while surrounded by other students.

Community Focus

Community starts with the classroom. As students become more familiar with peers and teachers, we connect with our campuses, including but not limited to, farm animals, the greenhouse, our garden, and open space. We continue to grow our community by connecting with older students and ultimately venturing into our local community and woods.

“Before we sent our kids here, I couldn’t really imagine why everyone talked about Mountain Academy being such a unique experience from other preschool programs. But it is truly a magical place. My kids literally run into the classroom in the morning and come home chattering away about all their adventures outside. I think the focus on independence and letting kids guide their learning has led my once-shy toddler to be a more confident little girl who can even write her name already. It just blows me away.”

Quote from a Preschool Parent’36

The Guiding Principals of Reggio Emilia

Two young girls playing with arts and crafts at a table at Mountain Academy of Teton Science Schools.

Image of the Child

Children have the ability to drive curriculum through their own curiosities and interests and are regularly asked to think creatively, problem-solve, and share their theories and ideas with the group.

Two Mountain Academy students sitting on the ground looking inside an insect cage.

The Role of the Environment

The learning environment acts as a third teacher. It should be dynamic, engaging, and inspiring and reflect the inhabitants of the space and the values they hold. The learning environment is not just thought of within the context of walls, but what’s accessible within the children’s place and natural world.

View from above of a Mountain Academy student with her hand on a table painting a picture with watercolors.

The Studio

The studio plays an important role in the classroom. The creator of Reggio believed that young children should be encouraged, “to explore their environment and express themselves through all of the available ‘expressive, communicative, and cognitive languages,’ whether they be words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play or music.”

Two parents and a student sitting at a picnic table while looking at a book at the Mountain Academy Teton Valley Campus.

Parents as Partners

Parents serve an important role within the learning community. The partnership that is created between parents, teachers, and children is important for supporting each child to have the best possible learning experience. A parent knows and understands their specific child best, and teachers understand and know about early childhood education. Together, they can support children to be successful.

A Mountain Academy teacher sitting on the floor with a young student on her lap while clapping her hands.

Teachers as Researchers

Teachers are co-constructing knowledge alongside the children rather than filling an empty vessel. Teachers record conversations, take photographs, and revisit conversations and documentation with children to better understand their thinking.

A young Mountain Academy student with pigtails sitting up to a table coloring a picture with markers.


Documentation is a way to make learning visible, and there are several types that can typically be found in the classroom, including historical documentation, ongoing documentation, and daily documentation.

About Our Schedule

Early Childhood

(Sample daily schedule)

8:00 – Settling In

9:00 – Morning Meeting

9:20 – Morning Snack

9:30 – Focused Explorations and Project Work

10:25 – Clean Up

10:30 – Social and Emotional Learning

10:45 – Transition Outside

11:00 – Outdoor Education Meeting and Outdoor Explorations

12:00 – Lunch and Stories

1:00 – Rest and Relaxation

2:00 – Outdoor Play and Afternoon Snack

2:55 – Gratitude Circle and Pick Up

During Woods weeks, Woods Journeys occur Thursday and Friday from 9:30-12:00

Creative Minds Come to Life