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Big Ideas

Children understand the world through active exploration, constructing knowledge as they investigate, ask questions, and interact with people and materials. That’s why SEE Every Child is organized around thematic projects and the Project Approach, offering Big Ideas that provider opportunities for children to explore concepts and build skills across content areas while investigating topics that matter most to them. Through thematic projects and experiences, children build academic knowledge and deepen their expertise in multiple literacies . Each month, there are several different Big Ideas to choose from, so that you can select options that work for you and your class. There are also opportunities to develop your own projects that emerge from the children’s interests and teacher passions and ideas. While each class or program will take a unique path, cultivating unity and collaboration across our city’s many vibrant ECE programs can make children’s experiences stronger.

Me and My Friends

Explore identity with children as they learn more about themselves, their peers, and build community. Discover ways in which children are similar and ways they differ from each other. Inspire curiosity and appreciation for self and others.

Download the Me and My Friends Big Idea Guide

Light and Shadow

Investigate the properties of light, shadow and reflection as children engage in hands-on experiences with the natural phenomena. Follow child insight and intrigue as they explore light, shadows and reflections created by different light sources in their environment.

Community and Relationships

Develop a sense of belonging and community among children in the classroom community and other groups to which they may belong. Explore the shared responsibilities, relationships and various roles of members in a community.

Download Community and Relationships Big Idea Guide


Explore how clothing is part of a child’s everyday experience. Discover different purposes for clothing based on weather, culture, activity, etc.; as well as how clothes are created and how to care for clothes.

Download the Clothing Big Idea Guide

Growing and Changing

Investigate the many things in a child’s world that are growing and changing. Notice and investigate the life cycles of plants and insects. Discover the ways that they too are growing and changing, measuring growth across many domains.

Healthy Living

Explore different ways to live a healthy lifestyle and understand the positive impact that healthy living has on our bodies. Investigate the ways in which children can incorporate practices such as eating healthy foods, exercising, and mindfulness into their daily lives.

Download the Healthy Living Big Idea Guide

Our Bodies

Investigate the different systems of the human body and the ways in which we care for our bodies. Explore the roles of healthcare professionals, practices for good health and learn about the amazing things our bodies can do.


Invite children to learn about the story of their family and the families of their classmates. Encourage children to share the stories and traditions that are unique to their family and learn about their friends.

Download the Families Big Idea Guide

Kindness and Fairness

Explore the role of kindness, the power of our words, and take a deeper look at what it means for something to be fair. Develop critical thinking skills to analyze whether a situation or circumstance is fair or unfair.


Investigate different types of weather, tools and methods for predicting and measuring weather. Notice and identify seasonal weather patterns and explore the impacts weather has on our daily experiences and how it influences choices we make.

Download the Weather Big Idea Guide


Discover how babies require special care so they can be safe, healthy and grow. Explore ways babies are cared for across cultures and communities. Investigate the ways babies communicate their needs and create connections with others as they enter the world and begin to grow.

Civil Rights Then and Now

Explore what it means when actions or rules are fair versus unfair, and how the concept of fairness relates to the lives of children. Investigate how people have worked for fairness for themselves and others in the past and how that work continues in the present.

Download the Civil Rights Then and Now Big Idea Guide

Rights and Change Makers

Investigate the rights of children and of people and recognize those who peacefully created change when things are not fair and do not protect those rights. Find ways with children to actively create change in your community.

Download the Rights and Change Makers Big Idea Guide


Explore how people with different needs use transportation to get around. Investigate the ways in which various modes of transportation operate in Somerville and around the world, and develop an understanding of the ways we make transportation functional and safe for everyone.

Download the Transporation Big Idea Guide

Stories Told in Many Ways

Investigate the components of a story and learn ways to analyze and compare stories. Invite children to tell stories through a variety of methods including writing, oral language, art and acting. Create strong connections between storytelling and balanced literacy skills.

Download the Stories Told in Many Ways Big Idea Guide

Music and Sound

Explore how sounds are made and how people use different kinds of sounds to create music. Learn about different types of instruments and different types of music, and explore how music and musical performances can convey messages or express emotions.

Download the Music and Sound Big Idea Guide


Explore the characteristics of different types of birds and relate those characteristics to how they live and grow. Use birds as an avenue to investigate growth and change over time, and to learn about how animals in different parts of the world live and interact with their environment.

Download the Birds Big Idea Guide

Forces and Motion

Investigate basic physics concepts through hands-on scientific exploration. Create connections between the concepts of force, motion, and simple machines and how they are used to make everyday tasks easier. Practice using scientific strategies such as hypothesis, observation, measurement, and analysis.

Download the Forces and Motion Big Idea Guide