As education reform has increasingly emphasized high-stakes testing and learning standards in recent years, preschool and kindergarten curricula have adopted somewhat rigorous academic goals at the expense of crucial non-academic cognitive skills. The trend towards early implementation academic standards suggests that childhoods are being shortened; children are spending less and less time curiously exploring the world, expressing themselves creatively, and developing the ability to regulate their own cognitive and behavioral abilities. We believe that an overly academic emphasis actually prevents children from fully developing those capacities—curiosity, creativity, and self-regulation—which provide the true foundations of later academic success. We strive to create a nurturing, engaging, and stimulating classroom environment governed by compassion, intuitive expectations and logical consequences. Our classroom culture is democratic, collaborative, and participatory, and we as teachers strive to act as guides rather than authoritative supervisors. At Kindergarten Kickstart, we foster children’s abilities to explore new terrain, ask questions, plan actions, recall events, track cause and effect, solve problems, process emotions, regulate behavior, interact socially, and participate in a culture of kindness and empathy. Kindergarten Kickstart holds a philosophy of joyful, play-based, experiential learning and nurturing, collaborative teaching. Each cohort of Kickstart teachers creates their own curriculum based on our central principles and current developmental research, as well former teachers’ feedback, the needs of the current students, and teachers’ own backgrounds and talents. The program is constantly evolving to flexibly meet the needs of students, parents, schools and teachers alike.