Little Lions Preschool

Little Lions Preschool

Welcome to our Pride! 

Little Lions Preschool believes that all children are filled with powerful potential that blossoms at an early age. Our program nurtures a child's potential and inherent need to explore and discover. It is our mission to make those early learning experiences authentic and meaningful. We provide a rich learning environment and a Zoo full of acres, adventures, and animals. 

Enrollment

We feel honored you have taken an interest in Little Lions Preschool’s progressive approach to education and are considering our extraordinary learning experience for your child.

Schedule a tour to learn more about our preschool, requirements, and enrollment process by emailing earlychildhood@omahazoo.com.  

Preschool

Preschool is for children who are 3 to 4 years of age and fully potty trained.  This program is half-day, with a morning session from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. and an afternoon session from 1 - 4 p.m. Students may be enrolled part-time (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) or full-time (Monday-Friday). 

Pre-K

The Zoo also offers a Pre-K program for children ages 4 to 5 and fully potty trained.  Pre-k is full-time Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Children applying for full-day program must be four years old on or before July 30, 2019.

Our Philosophy

The Reggio Approach

Little Lions Preschool follows the Reggio Approach, which derives its name from Reggio Emilia, a city in northern Italy where educators, parents, and children began working together after World War II to reconstruct society and build an exemplary system of municipal preschools and infant-toddler centers. The region has since been recognized to have one of the best municipal educational systems in the world, largely due to its innovative educational approach and the amount of civic resources committed to the system.

Philosophy

Little Lions Preschool believes that all children are filled with powerful potential that blossoms at an early age. We intentionally cultivate collaboration in our unique zoo community with innovative teachers and meaningful partnerships with children and families.

We know that long-lasting bonds have a positive impact on a child's first early learning experiences.  Families make a conscious decision to enroll their children in our educational environment because they value original and creative thinking. Parents and educators support the children in their quest to understand new concepts. 'Correct' solutions are not always provided; instead, the children explore solutions through questioning, exploration, and trial and error.

Emergent Curriculum

Our curriculum is not established in advanced. Teachers express general goals and make hypotheses about what learning may occur during activities and projects. Then, after observing children in action, teachers compare, discuss, and interpret their observations. They make choices about what to offer, and how to sustain the children in their exploration and learning. In fact, the curriculum emerges in the process of each activity or project and is adjusted accordingly through continuous dialogue among the teaching team and children.

What do children learn at Little Lions Preschool?

The Environment

How does the environment enhance the Reggio approach? 

The interior and exterior spaces at Little Lions Preschool were thoughtfully designed and organized to reflect the values and educational goals of the Reggio Emilia Approach, our program, and our unique Zoo community. Through extensive research and observation of how children interact and learn in various spaces, the environment itself was intentionally designed to be the “third teacher.” 

Our school nurtures children's potential by providing rich learning environments. We spend time each day in our classrooms but, we also believe that the Zoo provides valuable experiences to our daily routine. We support our students with meaningful hands-on experiences and in-depth reflections. The children express their knowledge in a multitude of ways. Parents and educators guide children to discover their ability to communicate using words, numbers, art, music, movement, science, and the hundreds of combined possibilities.  This gives meaning to the inspiration of the "hundred languages of children" by Loris Malaguzzi, the founder of the Reggio Emilia Approach.

Program Features

In order for children to learn, their well-being has to be guaranteed. This sense of well-being is connected with that of the parents, teachers, and community.

Role of Parents

Parents are an essential component of our program. Parent participation takes on many and varied forms.

Role of Time and the Importance of Continuity

Children’s sense of time and their rhythms are considered in planning and carrying out activities and experiences. Because teachers have time to discuss and interact with each other they get to know the children and their particular characteristics.

Teachers as Partners

Teachers observe and listen to children closely as they plan for experiences. This enables them to act as a resource for children as they ask questions and discover children’s ideas, hypotheses, and theories. The role of the teachers is one of continual research and learning process. This process takes place with the children and is embedded in team cooperation. This provides for continuous individual and group professional growth.

Cooperation and Collaboration

Teachers work in teams in each program to gather information about work children have done by means of documentation, discussion, observation, and assessment. Teachers are provided with ample time in their schedule for meetings, preparations, parent conferencing, and professional development. To support and meet the needs of the children and families, teachers use planning time to offer high quality experiences for children.

Many Languages of Children

Children can explore various materials, such as painting easels, bio facts, tinkering tables, and a variety of writing and art tools. This use of media is not a separate part of the curriculum but an inseparable, integral part of the whole cognitive/symbolic expression involved in the process of learning.

Power of Documentation

Transcripts of children’s words and discussions, photographs of children engaged in activities, and representations of their thinking and learning are arranged on the walls of the classroom to document children’s work. Benefits of documentation include:

  • Making parents aware of children’s experiences
  • Maintaining parent involvement
  • Allowing for teachers to understand children better
  • Evaluating children’s work
  • Providing a venue for children to recall and value their own work and the process of that work
  • Facilitated communication and exchange ideas among educators

Studies

Studies often provide a basis for learning experiences. They are based on the strong conviction that learning by doing is of great importance. By discussing and revisiting experiences and understanding knowledge construction, ownership of concepts can occur. Ideas for projects originate from teachers and children as they express interests and construct knowledge together. Studies can last a few days to several months. Studies may start either from a chance event, a problem posed by one or more children, or an experience initiated directly by the teaching team.

Our Unique  Conservation Component

Little Lions Preschool believes a truly sustainable ecosystem is alive, fresh, vital, and forever changing. When children learn to think about conservation and understand the interconnectedness of humans and nature, they are able to understand how their active participation can help make an impact. By weaving principles into our everyday routine we teach our children to care about all living things. Principles include but are not limited to:

  • Daily walk abouts on Zoo grounds
  • Making enrichment items for animals at the zoo
  • Assisting a Zoo keeper in caring for  classroom animals
  • Recycling in the classroom
  • Taking care of seeds and plants
  • Having an animal ambassador visit every other week