Piccola Italia Preschool is special because of our emphasis on the Italian language and culture. Teachers utilize the immersion approach, where Italian, our passion, is the medium of instruction. English and other languages will be supplementary, along with gestures, sign language, facial expressions, and other forms of communication to ensure understanding and, ultimately, the acquisition of Italian as a second or third language (See Bilingual Education).
We wholly believe that in addition to making their brains stronger, learning Italian makes children more multiculturally aware and curious. Italian culture is visibly apparent throughout the school, from the welcoming Italian flag and basil and hot pepper peperoncini plants at the front door, the murals of the Tuscan countryside and the Ligurian sea on the walls of our classrooms, to the Italian map towels and aroma of caffé in the kitchen. We celebrate Italian holidays, such as Carnevale, cook typical Italian meals, learn traditional song and dance, invite Italian speakers from the community and even video call other Italian preschoolers in Italy.
At PIP we plan activities to contribute to the development of our students. Each activity aims to do at least one (but usually many) of the following: stimulate the thought process, add to knowledge, sharpen reasoning skills, provide the opportunity for choices, allow social interaction, explore one’s own interests, improve coordination, and / or foster physical growth. Our social goals for students throughout the day are to be aware of and express their own needs, feelings, and abilities; and to hear and respect the needs, feelings, and abilities of others.