Nearly all research in child development points to the central importance of play for the development of healthy well-adjusted children. Additionally, a social environment that communicates warmth, respect, and joy provides an atmosphere of security, trust, and delight that allows children to thrive. And most recently, it has been found that regular contact with the natural world where real-time experiences allow children to process and integrate sensory experiences at their own pace has been shown to be a critical factor in perceptual, emotional and cognitive integration. These form the foundational precepts of Hearts in Harmony, a nature and play-based program, that aspires to be a heart-centered model of community, not only for children but for their families as well.
Because young children learn through imitation, the most important task of both teacher and parent is to communicate warmth, gentleness and integrity. The design of the indoor and outdoor environments includes toys and equipment made of attractive, open-ended materials, most of which are natural. Drawing on the rhythms of nature, stories, songs, movement, and activities are woven through the course of the day, week and season so as to engage the young child's imagination and love of play This is accomplished through a consistent daily schedule of activities that balance active indoor and outdoor freeplay, group time, music, arts and crafts. All teacher-assisted structured activities are presented in ways that engage the young child's playful spirit and build upon his/her natural sense of wonder, curiosity and delight.