ECDC-ND SY 4/5’s Group

The School Year 4/5’s classroom community includes 24 children and 2 teachers with a 3rd teacher most of the time.  ECDC-ND employs a few ND and SMC college students on a part time basis (4 to 10 hours per week) to assist teachers during the early morning, lunch and rest times, and end of the day adding additional helping hands.  These students are an important part of our program and we are most grateful for their time and energy. 


Our Curriculum - In-Depth Studies Throughout the School Year
 “Name Study”

Children adore their names!  As children explore names, their own and their friends’, they expand letter knowledge as they learn about how letters group together to create our own unique and special names as well as other words!  Children survey their families to learn the story of their names and share these meaningful family stories with our classroom community.  This study integrates literacy with social studies and the arts.

“Tree Study”
Children explore life science and the life cycle in many ways, one of which is our Tree Study investigation across the seasons of the year.  The children enhance their knowledge, appreciation and respect for nature during this exploration of a year in the life of a tree. They observe the full green crown in the late summer, the glorious colors and harvest of autumn, the dormant bare branches mid-winter, and the emergence of new growth with the warmth of spring.  The children even name this special tree, which reflects their growing fondness. 

“Our 5 Senses”
Children learn about their world through seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting.  During this study, children focus on and learn about each of the senses and how we use our senses to gather and organize information about our world.  The children discover how the senses work together to effect/enhance our understanding (e.g,. how the sense of smell impacts taste) and also explore adaptations that have been developed to support people with differing abilities (e.g., glasses for vision, large print and Braille for reading, hearing aids).   

“Puppet Study”
Children explore literacy and creative dramatics throughout our Puppet Study … and with much excitement and enjoyment.  Through collaborative work and play with their friends, children develop an increased understanding of story sequence, character, setting, and plot while learning about and creating many different types of puppets (e.g., finger puppets, stick puppets, paper sack puppets, simple marionettes).  Oh, the stories they tell!  

“Community Helpers”
During the spring semester, the children reflect on what it means to be a community, together in the classroom, in our neighborhoods, and in our town.  The children explore the many roles and jobs needed to help members of a community live and work together.  Through stories and literacy, dramatic play, special community visitors (e.g., firefighter, dental hygienist, scientist, naturalist, etc.) and field trips, children explore and learn about many different community helpers and the important roles they play in our community. Parents and grandparents are invited to share their helping roles with the class.

Rotating Summer Studies – 
During the summer, this group becomes the 5/6’s Forest Foxes group. All of the children in the 4/5’s have turned 5 throughout the school year and friends that have finished kindergarten are joining us for summer camp; thus the name change to 5/6’s Forest Foxes.

Summer 5/6's Group - Forest Foxes

During the summer, we become a 5/6’s age group and our nickname is the Forest Foxes. Throughout the summer we will be a group of 24 children with 2 teachers and a 3rd adult/college student most of the time.

Summer Studies –
“The Wonders of Animals” – occurs in odd-numbered summers
Children are enthralled with animals and love to discover new information about their favorite animals and to investigate unfamiliar animals.  During this project, the children investigate the similarities and differences between animals, learn the classifications of animal groups (e.g., mammals, insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians), and focus on life cycles and animal habitats.  The children create their own classroom terrarium, observe cocoons open to reveal butterflies, and delight in the hatching of praying mantises.

“We Observe Water: WOW!” – occurs in even-numbered summers
In this summer project, the children explore and discover the myriad facets of water in our lives – its importance for plants, animals, and people, the water/rain cycle, the variety of water habitats (e.g., ponds, lakes, rivers), and its use for recreation. The children observe tadpoles become frogs, lily pads balance on the water’s surface, and rain nourish seedlings’ growth.

Summer Special Activities –
This summer the children will have many fun activities to experience. During ECDC-ND summer camp, we will be very busy in our classroom, on the playground, and in the meadow enjoying Soccer Shots, Art and a Book, creative dramatics, sports fun, picnic snacks, and so much more! It is going to be a great summer! Special activities are evenly divided, as best they can be, across the various part time enrollment schedules. Children enrolled full time participate in all of the special activities. Children enrolled with part time schedules participate in a selection of special activities (e.g., TTH mornings or afternoons have approx. 1/5th of the special activities, MWF mornings or afternoons have approx. 3/10ths of the special activities, MWF all day schedules have approx. 3/5ths of the activities and TTH all day schedules have approx. 2/5ths of the activities). When unexpected changes occur, you will receive notification via email. Whenever possible a cancelled special activity will be rescheduled.

Electronic Calendars of Special Activities/Events –
ECDC families will be able to access their child’s calendar of special events/field trips via the “Classroom Resources” section of their classroom’s page on the ECDC website.  Activities for upcoming weeks are added to calendars as quickly as possible. When special activities have been finalized and calendars are updated, we let families know in the daily communication.

College Student Involvement

During both the School Year and Summer programs, we welcome practicum college students into our class from seven area colleges and universities (Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, IUSB, Bethel, IVY Tech, Holy Cross and Southwestern Michigan) who are completing course-required observations. We also welcome Notre Dame student volunteers who spend 2 hours per week with our group. Practicum and volunteer college students always work with the teachers in the classroom. We value their involvement as they offer extra smiles, laps, conversations and support for our children.

The Rhythm of the Day

Items to bring to ECDC for your child

It is helpful to bring the following items on your child’s first day~

    • One photograph of your child for the front of her/his locker.  If possible, have your child help you select the picture to bring to school for his/her locker.
      • 1 package of 8 color, washable markers
      • 1 box of crayons (no larger than 24-count)
      • 1 bottle of washable school glue (preferably Elmers)
    • Several complete sets of extra clothing to keep on the top shelf of your child’s locker. These clothes will be used by your child should he/she get bodily secretions on clothing or spill milk or water on clothing.  Children feel more comfortable putting on their own clothing if they do need to remove wet clothes. Please mark your child’s name on the extra clothing and store in a plastic bag on the top shelf of his/her locker.  Please keep your child’s extra clothing seasonal and check them often to make sure a complete set of clothes is always available.  Thank you.
    • RESTING ITEMS for children attending in the afternoons:  1 small crib size blanket (30″x40″) and small crib size pillow (12″x16″). Children enrolled in the mornings only do not need to bring resting items. Please note:  bed size pillows, bed size blankets and large or small sleeping bags may not be used at ECDC for rest times due to limited storage space and cleanliness and safety issues. Please provide crib size pillows and crib size blankets.
    • Family Photo: 4″x6″ family photo that ECDC will laminate for easy cleaning
    • Lovie:  A lovie might be a blanket, a small, stuffed animal or something else a child is attached to. These lovies help children to feel comfortable during the time they spend apart from their families and can be a healthy and typical part of growing up. We encourage children to bring their lovies to school. We will keep lovies in the children’s lockers because children often forget about them until they need them.
    • Face Masks: We are encouraging all children to wear masks or face shields. This may become a requirement in the future. Please provide 3 clean masks (or you can provide a face shield) labeled with your child’s first and last name each day.
    • Water Bottle: Please provide a reusable, filled water bottle that has a flip down straw labeled with your child’s name. Parents are responsible for daily cleaning of the water bottle and sending it filled to ECDC daily with their child.
Learning Experiences and Goals

In addition to establishing a classroom that is safe, inviting, developmentally stimulating, full of friendships and fun, the teachers have general overarching goals for the children. While teachers will work with families individually to establish more specific individual child goals, many of our general goals are listed below:

    • Relationships with Others – developing positive friendships with peers and teachers and developing the tools to problem-solve with others
    • Respect – A sense of respect for themselves, others, and materials
    • Responsible for our choices/actions and daily care of our environment
    • Responsive to their own bodily needs and the needs of others
    • Resourceful in play while learning to be problem solvers and how to use problem-solving skills effectively with people and materials.
    • Play Development – Transitioning from solitary and parallel play to cooperative play
    • Self Help Skills – including hand washing, blowing noses, dressing and undressing for toileting and to go outside, putting materials away, and managing their art box and lockers.
    • Attending Skills – including following directions, listening to stories, persistence with individual and small group activities, participation in conversations with peers and teachers
    • Expressive and Receptive Language Skills – including growing vocabulary, increased conversational turn taking, participation in large and small group discussions, more frequent use of words during challenging situations, etc.
    • Literature – including appreciation of books, print awareness, book orientation, re-telling of stories using props, increased understanding of characters, setting, story events and story sequence
    • Literacy Development – including letter recognition, phonemic awareness of consonants, beginning writing – moving from scribbling to representational marks to writing individual letters to beginning to write own name legibly
    • Mathematical Learning  – including spatial relationships – over/under, in/out, in front of/behind, matching, sorting and classification, sequencing (3 step), counting with 1:1 correspondence, recognizing and copying patterns, numeral recognition, etc.
    • Science Learning – including an inquisitiveness about the world around them, cause and effect, making predictions, caring for living things (fish, plants, garden)
    • The Fine Arts – awareness, appreciation and engagement with the fine arts, including music, art, movement, drama, and creative expression  
    • Gross Motor Skills – including increased awareness of self in space, eye-hand coordination  (ball catching and throwing), climbing, pedaling, strength, balance, and control
    • Fine Motor Skills  – including writing and drawing with varied materials and implements and manipulatives (e.g., lacing, stringing, cutting, tracing)
    • Knowledge About Themselves and Their World (cognitive conceptual development) – family, pets, animals, construction, artists and their art, songs and music, gardening, plants and insects.
    • Develop a sense of belonging to our community – sharing ideas and listening to what others have to say, developing friendships, and robust participation in the daily life of the classroom experiences.
  • Attributes, Dispositions and Approaches to Learning – self-confidence, friendly, cooperative, curious, creative, initiative – eager participation in new or novel experiences, persistence, flexibility, generous, empathetic, lending a helping hand, taking turns, and a love of learning.
Celebrating Birthdays at ECDC / Special Treats for the Children

Birthdays are a special time in a child’s life and we know how much they look forward to celebrating this time with their friends. The children and teachers at ECDC enjoy being part of this celebration. The teachers and program staff will plan and provide a special healthy snack for each child’s birthday. If you have any questions please speak with one of the lead teachers or a Program Director. Thank you!

Classroom Resources

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