La Piazza Academy, an innovative, eco-friendly learning center designed to educate children ages 1-5, is set to open its second location at 3100 S. Dixie Hwy. in Coconut Grove this summer. Four years after the first school launched in Coral Gables, La Piazza Academy continues to expand throughout South Florida.
“By promoting high quality early childhood education, La Piazza Academy will implement a Reggio Emilia inspired philosophy and a Social Constructivist theory enabling every child to reach their highest potential by establishing a curriculum that exceeds the standards for developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood,” said Jessica Pinto, CEO and founder of La Piazza Academy.
“The school provides extracurricular programs that help develop children’s mental, physical and social skills and by partnering with parents and the community to create an environment geared to the success of all children,” she added.
La Piazza founders strive to maintain a forward-thinking approach to learning centered on the idea that kids deserve a different kind of education, one that helps foster the talent they are born with while creating well-rounded citizens. A central component of this growth strategy is the language program. In addition to offering Spanish through the use of music, art and games, La Piazza Academy is one of the few in the nation that teaches Mandarin to its children.
La Piazza Academy’s classrooms are carefully arranged to promote active learning. The center offers a multitude of activities and features art, cognitive and movement areas, along with a library and exploring area. While children are outdoors, they have the opportunity to grow their favorite plants in the garden area, run in the grass, climb on playground equipment, and play in the sand area.
“At La Piazza, our teachers give children the opportunity to make simple choices such as reading, painting or exploring,” Pinto said. “Our teachers help children follow through with their projects, and they provide encouragement and praise. The teachers are seen as learners, along with the children. They observe and document — with pictures, videos and notes — the activities that interest and motivate each child.”
The Coconut Grove facility, like its Coral Gables predecessor, will be 100 percent LEED certified. The focus on the environment and commitment to the children’s overall well-being has been thoroughly vetted, right down to the lunch program. Each day, children will enjoy fresh, nutritious, all-natural and organic ingredients prepared by Bon Appetit Kids.
The Reggio Emilia approach was started by Loris Malaguzzi, who lived in Italy’s Reggio Emilia area after World War II. Malaguzzi was a teacher, innovator and creative philosopher. He was quoted as saying, “The wider the range of possibilities we offer children, the more intense will be their motivations and the richer their experience.”
Pinto concludes, “La Piazza Academy is committed to offering comprehensive, innovative, multi-lingual, green educational programs that empower young children to make positive contributions to their school, community, country, and to the global society we live in.”
La Piazza Academy currently is enrolling students for the Pre-K and first grade programs for the 2016 fall semester. For more information on La Piazza Academy or to register for fall sessions, call 305-448-8885 or visit www.lapiazzaacademy.com.