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Wildflower School offers a nature-based program for children ages 2 through 6 that honors children’s innate sense of wonder/curiosity and their intense drive to make sense of everything they encounter.  Our school is founded on the principles developed by Loris Malaguzzi of Reggio Emilia, Italy. The Reggio approach values interdependence and creativity as well as lively collaboration between parents, children and teachers. There are no “Reggio”certifications because this approach values independent thinking rather mimicking another’s ideas.

Our Setting

Our school is located on 34 beautiful acres just two miles from downtown Carrboro - 16 acres belong to Wildflower School and  18 acres belong to Belle Vie Farm next door. With endless walking trails throughout a beautiful forest and farm, Wildflower and Belle Vie form the ideal spot for young children to explore, learn and thrive!

Indoors, we play and discover in our shipping container school which reflects the philosophy that the classroom environment is the third teacher: beautiful toys crafted of natural materials thoughtfully displayed serve as a canvas for the children’s explorations and creations.

Mixed-Age Classrooms

We believe that mixed-age learning serves children best in their development; therefore, all of the children work together throughout the day. According to Lilian Katz,  a renown researcher in the field of child development, there are many social, intellectual and developmental benefits to classrooms which blend multiple ages of children.

To fully support each child, we adhere to developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Specifically, we support each child’s progress in the following areas:

  • Physical health,  well-being and movement (fine and gross motor skills)

  • Social and emotional development

  • Individual learning style

  • Cognitive development (constructing and testing theories,  collaborating with peers on projects, integrating new ideas)

  • Communication,  literacy and numeracy (art,  music,  drama,  movement,  mathematics,  science)

What Is Reggio Emilia?

Reggio Emilia is actually a city in Italy which,  at the end of World War II, recognized that the most hopeful action they could take in response to the devastation of war was to create a school for their children. Using proceeds from the sale of an old tank left behind, the people of Reggio Emilia began building the first school.

They were soon joined by educational psychologist Loris Malaguzzi and, together, they envisioned a new school that would be a place in which children were respected for their intellectual and creative competencies, and their ability to co-learn with peers and teachers.

They determined that success of the school depended on a strong collaborative connection between parents, students, teachers and the community; and they committed to growing that connection in all areas of the school’s activities. Malaguzzi grew into “the untiring promoter of an innovative philosophy of education which with its theory of the hundred languages gives value to the potentials, the resources, and many intelligences of all children” (Reggio Children).

At the heart of the Reggio Emilia philosophy is the image of the child as a powerful, curious learner full of ideas and theories about the world in which he lives. In fact, Reggio Emilia inspired educators firmly believe that children (and adults) have a “hundred languages” through which they express their ideas and make their thinking visible: they dance, paint, draw, sing, design, construct, sculpt, make music, garden and more. Because of their competence and their various means of expressing their ideas, children are adept at learning from each other.


In the Reggio Emilia classroom, children are encouraged to view their peers as valuable sources of knowledge. Teachers support their collaborative efforts to construct and explore theories. As the children investigate a topic, the teacher carefully observes, asks questions and determines how she can support and extend their learning. In this sense, this approach leads to a child-led emergent curriculum, one that is negotiated within the classroom community.


The teacher views herself as both a co-learner with the children and a researcher of the children and their learning processes. Through purposeful documentation of the children’s activities (photographs, transcripts of the children’s conversations, artwork and more), the teacher can revisit and reflect on the classroom projects with parents and children.


Reggio Emilia inspired educators believe...

  • Playfulness and joy are the foundations of education

  • Children learn most effectively when they lead their own learning with support from peers and adults

  • Children are competent learners

  • Children are curious and full of their own ideas

  • Children express their interests in an endless variety of  ways

  • Parents are respected members of our community who share their expertise about their own children

  • Teachers are researchers

  • Teachers are respected members of our community with expertise in classroom management, child development and emergent curriculum principles

  • Children and teachers are co-learners

  • Documenting children's thinking and work through photographs, recorded conversations and art work allows the school community to see each child's cognitive processes and allows the child to reflect and build on his own ideas

  • The classroom environment acts as a third teacher, inspiring and supporting children's explorations

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