Who Are We?
Washington Kids Academy is a full-time child care and early learning center in Washington, IL. Within our full-time child care, we offer high-quality early learning programs, integrating the most up-to-date best practices in early childhood education. Our child care and early learning center serves children 6 weeks to 5 years old, and our school-age program serves children 5-12 years old. We are committed to embracing each child’s unique interests and abilities, and feel that every child is capable of success!
You will find that our preschool and pre-kindergarten programs are designed to encourage a love of learning, build confidence, and prepare our children for school and beyond! Our infant and toddler teachers provide each child with attentive, individualized care in an environment created for comfort, safety, and lots of play and exploration!
Our school-age program is designed to extend learning through play, exploration, and socialization. We provide many unique materials appropriate for a school-agers’ growing creativity. It is important that after a long day at school, children have many options including relaxation and comfort. We provide homework time and help for our older students, at the request of parents.
The mission of Washington Kids Academy is to partner with parents and families to provide the highest quality care and early childhood education within a warm family environment. At Washington Kids Academy, we are committed to whole child development built on a foundation of early social and emotional teaching strategies. We provide high quality, child-centered learning opportunities to support each child’s individual cognitive, physical, and social emotional development.
Young children learn very differently than school-aged children and adults. Furthermore, each child develops at his or her own pace, with different sets of natural interests and abilities. Play-based, child-centered learning combined with ample opportunities to create, explore, and use new language is so very important for setting a foundation of confidence and love of learning. We believe that children learn best when they feel safe, loved, and appreciated, and when they are able to build meaningful connections within their school family (i.e. their teachers and friends). Our curriculum is built on a foundation of early social and emotional learning, therefore allowing all other areas of development to flourish. Through a combination of (i.) a Reggio Emilia inspired approach to learning, (ii) Dr. Becky Baily’s Conscious Discipline techniques for connection and emotional intelligence, and (iii) Developmentally Appropriate Practice, children at Washington Kids Academy are given an invaluable foundation for success in school and in life.
The Washington Kids Academy Difference
At Washington Kids Academy, we are trained and up-to-date on the most relevant research in child development and early learning. We understand that a foundation must be built on two very important concepts:
- Children must first feel a meaningful connection with a caring adult before the most optimal learning can take place. Washington Kids Academy is a proud Conscious Discipline® school, and implements Dr. Becky Baily’s strategies for connection and emotional intelligence. We are committed to building this connection with each and every child. Every day begins with connecting activities. Embedded in our curriculum, we offer a rich foundation in which children learn to identify and communicate their needs and their feelings, problem-solve with peers, and learn healthy calming and self-regulation techniques. Teachers are models and supporters of these most important skills.
- All children are capable and curious, and possess individual abilities and interests. Each child develops differently, and all are competent people with the capacity to succeed. A quality early childhood program is one in which adults recognize these individual abilities, and intentionally create interactions and environments to support the success of every child. Our Washington Kids Academy staff are trained, accountable, and proud of this unique characteristic to our program. Washington Kids Academy is a proud Reggio Emilia inspired school, where it is understood that when children are interested and involved in what they are experiencing, they develop a much deeper understanding of their world.
“Nice facility, wonderful staff, and good prices. We are very happy with Washington Kids Academy.”
“You guys are doing great things!!!”
“We are so very pleased with Washington Kids Academy! The staff are absolutely wonderful, they all are so caring and provide a supportive learning environment for our daughter. We have noticed that our daughter has a brighter/ more happy affect when we pick her up in the evenings compared to when we picked her up from our previous child care provider. We love Washington Kids Academy and would recommend them to anyone!”
“This place is so amazing. I love knowing that my girls are being taken care of while I work and I love the pictures and updates throughout the day. I would recommend Washington Kids Academy to anyone.”
Meet the Staff
Lindsey Jenkins, Executive Director
Welcome! I am so excited to welcome your family to our school family! It is my privilege and my priority to ensure that your child receives the highest quality care through our program! My door is always open, and it is my hope that you always feel welcome to stop in, check on your child, or to come by my office to chat. I value your feedback and look to you as a partner in your child’s care and education.
Simply put, I love Early Childhood. Throughout my journey, my common thread has always been child care quality improvement. This is my passion. I feel so fortunate to have had the invaluable experiences and opportunities that have led me to this exciting time. I began my career as an early childhood teacher, and I knew early on that my calling was working with young children and families. Through graduate school, I continued with a focus in infant and child development and administration, and I currently serve as Secretary of the Peoria area Early Childhood Forum.
As a trainer in early care and education, I have presented on many different early childhood topics over the last 9 years. Some of my favorites include early childhood environments and meaningful interactions with children. I am an enormous advocate for the importance of social-emotional development and ensuring that children feel safe, valued, and appreciated above all else. This is the foundation for all other learning.
I am married with two amazing kiddos, who remind me every day how precious and important this time is. They are my greatest teachers, and I am thankful beyond measure to be their mom.
I am so excited to get to know each family that walks through our doors! It is my commitment to build a warm, welcoming, high-quality program that prepares our children for the world. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime. I look forward to hearing from you!
Welcome to our school family!
Reggio Emilia Inspired School
Washington Kids Academy is a Reggio-inspired school. Our curriculum is child-centered, and focuses on expanding on the interests, strengths, and abilities of each child. Children learn best when they are interested and involved in play-based learning with open-ended materials that leave room for problem-solving, critical thinking, and opportunities to develop new language.
Our environment includes natural light, and natural “brain-friendly” colors to optimize learning. While our program includes a combination of approaches to early learning, our curriculum is grounded in Reggio values. The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards are incorporated into all that we do to support children’s learning.
We are proud to offer a program that supports the individuality of each child!
What is a Reggio Emilia Approach to Learning?
The Reggio-Emilia approach includes a number of unique characteristics to teaching young children.
The Reggio approach values children as active, competent participants in their own learning. When children’s interests are a focus of learning, they are naturally able to make lasting connections about the world around them. They are able to better understand their relationship with people and the environment.
The environment in a Reggio-inspired classroom is set up to encourage open-ended thinking and exploration. Materials are intentionally chosen in order to give children the tools they need to create, problem-solve, and develop relational and logical reasoning. Communication and social play with friends is an important part the classroom culture.
The teacher in a Reggio-inspired classroom is a supporter of every child’s learning. Curriculum is emergent, rather than pre-planned. The teacher observes and documents the child’s interests and provides opportunities to expand on the child’s thoughts and knowledge. The teacher provides experiences and language related to the emergent interests of each child. Through open-ended questions and intentional conversations, the teacher is a constant support to each child’s learning process.