Thank you for looking into Lexie’s Little Bears Child Care. My name is Lexie Biegun and I am the Owner and Pedagogist of this Reggio Inspired, nature program.
I am incredibly inspired by nature in my everyday world and intertwining the beauty of the Reggio philosophy has allowed me to develop a truly unique West Coast pedagogy of my own. Using the land and the forest as the third teacher, we incorporate many of the (philosophy’s) practiced by educators around the world such as the Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio-Emilia and forest school teachings. In my humble opinion, none of the philosophies offer a “perfect” pedagogy, so we take the best parts from each of them to create a super-powered collaboration of practice unique to the land we stand on. As we work towards reconciliation it is also very important to remember the First peoples who once lived on this land long before us and to honor their teachings through song, dance and language.
We currently have 4 programs on our 4 —acre campus including two infant/toddler buildings, a multi-age centre, and a pre-school age program. Ideally, we will be building more infant/toddler and pre-school spaces on the property soon.
The Bear House: Offers a beautifully handmade building to 25 children ages 30 months to Kindergarten. This large “home-like” facility has multiple rooms that peek into each other through large windows purposely placed between rooms. The huge cubby space was designed and crafted using the trees from our property, as well as all the tables, shelving and the Atelier (art studio) The Bear House also has a large outside covered deck or (outside Atelier) where children can bring the arts outdoors even when it’s raining. They also have an AMAZING outdoor play space which boasts a gigantic sand box, a new playhouse, a work bench and a mud kitchen! Giant rain barrels have been installed to capture the rain as it falls and to use for watering. (inspired by the New Zealand culture and practice of water preservation)
The Bear Den: Offers a small cottage feeling to 8 lucky Infants and Toddlers. This building is located behind the Bear House and next to our community garden and the large field. The children in this program were the first to experience outdoor napping at Little Bears, and their educators continue to collaborate and document the children’s days which is evident (all over the walls) of this space. This is a very special space for us to share with you.
The Cub House: Offers another larger building cut in half to house two Infant/toddler rooms side by side. Each side has 8 spaces and 2 educators. This building has their cubbies outdoors, and undercover on the large deck. The sleep/ playrooms have large circular windows which are hugely popular in the Reggio-Emilia schools in Italy. The bathroom has toddler sized toilets to help our children gain confidence while toilet learning. The Cub House has their own outdoor play space as well as access to the neighboring forest. All of the furniture in this building was cut, milled and hand built using the trees from our property.
The Spirit Bear Lodge: In 2017 we were fortunate to purchase the house next door to Lexie’s Little Bears from our lovely neighbors, The Hubbard’s. (now deceased) Joyce especially loved listening to the children playing outside and often commented on how lovely it was to have the “sounds of play surround her.” This INCREDIBLE home currently offers a multi-age space to 8 children ages 12 months to 5 years. There are high ceilings offering lots of light, a built in Atelier, a rear facing forest deck, and much more that you can only truly appreciate when you see it. Our Atelierista works in all of our buildings with small groups of children on many ongoing projects and she has an upstairs Atelier in this building. To get to this building you must walk the lighted fairy path through the forest…
Using the NEW B.C. Early Learning Framework, the Te Whariki (New Zealand) and inspired by the teaching of Loris Malaguzzi (Reggio-Emilia, Italy), Lexie’s Little Bears has created our own unique collaboration of a west coast pedagogy. Using our own 4 acres of forest the educators and the children navigate and explore the environment as they immerse themselves deeply in play.
“The BC Framework carries the hope of inspiring and supporting the creation of rich, joyful early childhood spaces where children, adults, ideas, and materials come together, and where knowledge is constructed about learning and living in ways that are local, inclusive, ethical, and democratic.” ELF (2019)
It is our practice as Early Childhood educators at Lexie’s, to keep learning, and growing through professional development opportunities. Loris Malaguzzi reminds us that, “Teachers are learning people!” and this is something that we truly strive for.
Like a woven map, the Te Whariki (New Zealand) uses 4 principles and 5 strands to weave Maori and New Zealand culture. The four Principles are empowerment, holistic development, family & community and relationships. The 5 strands include well being, belonging, contribution, communication and exploration.
“The real strength of the Te Whariki is its capacity to establish strong and durable foundations for every culture in Aotearoa New Zealand, and in the world… Te Whariki rests on the theory that all children will succeed in education when the foundations to their learning are based on an understanding and a respect for their cultural roots.” Reedy & Reedy (2013)
The Early Learning Framework Principles that we practice here in Canada set forth ways of thinking about childhood, learning, and practicing that underpin the vision of respectfully living and learning together.
The principles are:
The Reggio approach is an educational philosophy that many early childhood educators and teachers use all over the world. It can be described as a student-centred, self-directed, experimental learning practice that is inclusive of environment, materials, place and people.
In 2020, | will be travelling back for my third year of study to the Loris Malaguzzi International Centre. Workshops and tours will also soon begin at my centres here in Victoria, BC.
Thank you for choosing Lexie’s Little Bears Child Care.