Main Content


Mission: To provide child-centered, play-based learning experiences for young children in a safe and nurturing environment.

Vision: Big Oak will be an example in Madison and beyond for high quality, community-based, and progressive early childhood education. Our children will have had a learning experience that continues to give beyond the Big Oak years.

Philosophy Statement and Values:

Big Oak recognizes the importance of play in the learning process for young children. Play is the basis for learning in our programs. Big Oak works to empower children, promote individuality, and develop strong partnerships with families while creating an environment that helps young children attain physical, cognitive, social, and emotional achievements, preparing them for the next step in life.

Each child brings to Big Oak a history of life experience and cultural heritage. Partnerships between families and the Center are essential to the growth and development of the individual child. We strive to create and promote these strong partnerships with families and create a sense of community that is thoughtful, warm and compassionate.

To support it the Center will strive to be consistent with these values

Child centered: Teachers facilitate each child’s development based on the child’s interests and individuality, helping learn about themselves and the world.

Community: Big Oak is rooted in and contributes to our neighborhood to help our children understand their community. We also foster a community amongst families.

Health and well-being: Big Oak promotes healthy lifestyles through nutritious, homemade meals and active, eco-conscious programs.

Open and accepting: Big Oak is open and accepting of all children and families. Big Oak cultivates an expectation of respect: that all children, families and staff will be treated with respect and treat others the same.

Play: Play offers rich experiences in which staff nurtures each child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development, guiding and challenging each child to progress.

Partnerships with families Big Oak is committed to working collaboratively with families to promote a child’s success.

Quality staff: Big Oak recognizes the importance of quality staff in all areas, and recruits, retains and supports highly qualified and skilled educators.