ECDC-SMC SY 4/5’s Group

Our group includes 24 children and 3 teachers.  ECDC-SMC also 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

“Getting to Know You/Families”
At the beginning of each school year, the children and teachers are excited to come together as a new 4/5’s community. During the first few weeks, the children get to know one another, learn about what happens in the 4/5’s, and explore the materials in the room. The children share their interests with one another, learn about their similarities and differences, and strengthen established friendships while building new friendships through songs, stories, games, and play. After getting to know each other, we move on to learning about our families, where we live, and what we do.

“Fall”
The “Fall” study provides the children with a variety of opportunities to learn about weather changes, the season of autumn, crops harvested in the fall, and animals that prepare for winter. With their 5 senses, the children explore the many treasures from nature including pumpkins, gourds, corn, acorns, and apples, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting the bounty of the fall season. Books, art, songs, dramatic play and construction foster a growing knowledge of autumn, nature and the seasons. The children delight in creating their own “farmers’ market” in the dramatic play area! 

“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. 

“Castle Study”
The children enjoy learning about fairy tales and then creating their own castle right inside the classroom! Children re-tell these classic stories through dramatic play, engage in a variety of games related to fairy tales/castles, and construct their own fairy tales. Literacy, math, and science activities encourage children to use their creativity and imagination to weave new tales and create new worlds.

“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.

Summer 5/6's Group - Explorers

During the summer, we are a 5/6’s age group and our nickname is the Explorers.  Our group includes 24 children and 3 teachers

Summer Studies –
“We Observe Water: WOW!” – occurs in odd-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.

“Out the Door, Let’s Explore!” – occurs in even-numbered summers
The children explore nature and the outdoors. They discover the excitement and wonder of observing and learning about living things. The children garden, create mini-environments, and study plants, flowers, trees and insects. Through our project and activities the children ask questions about and make new discoveries about the world around them, learn about ways they can help keep our Earth healthy and clean, and develop a sense of respect for living things and the world around them.

Summer Special Activities –
This summer the children will have many fun activities to experience. During ECDC-SMC summer camp, we will be very busy in our classroom, in the meadow and around the campus enjoying yoga, soccer, nature walks, picnic lunches, 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 with all of the special activities. Children enrolled with part time schedules participate in a selection of special activities (e.g., MWF all day schedules have approx. 3/5’s of the activities and TTH all day schedules have approx. 2/5’s of the activities). When unexpected changes occur, you will receive notification via email. Whenever possible, a cancelled 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.
    • ART SUPPLIES
      • 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 tools to problem-solve with others using appropriate communication and conflict resolution strategies
  • 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 other
  • Resourceful in play while learning to be problem solvers and how to use problem-solving skills effectively with people and materials.
  • Play Development – Transitioning to complex cooperative play and experiencing the joyfulness of pretend creative play with friends and play props
  • Self Help Skills – including hand washing, blowing nose, dressing and undressing to go outside, putting materials away, and managing art box and lockers.
  • Attending Skills – including following multi-step directions, listening to stories, initiative and persistence with individual & small group activities, participation in conversations with peers/teachers
  • Expressive and Receptive Language Skills – including growing vocabulary, increased conversational turn taking, participation in large and small group discussions, more frequent use of problem-solving words during challenging situations including standing up for one’s point of view or rights

    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 of upper and lower case letters, phonemic awareness of consonants, beginning writing – moving from representational marks to writing individual letters to beginning to write own name legibly and other simple words – cat, dog, mom, dad, etc.

    Mathematical Learning – including spatial relationships – over/under, in/out, in front of/behind, matching, sorting and classification, sequencing (3 – 4 step), counting with 1:1 correspondence, recognizing and copying patterns, numeral recognition, measurement and graphing

    Science Learning – including an inquisitiveness about the world around them, cause and effect, making predictions, making observations, recording data and caring for living things (fish, frog, 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, swinging, jumping, hopping, strength, balance, and control

    Fine Motor Skills – including writing and drawing with varied materials and implements and manipulatives (e.g., lacing, cutting, tracing)

    Knowledge About Themselves and Their World (cognitive conceptual development) – family, animals, seasons (fall, winter, spring), name study, community helpers, and songs/music.

    Develop a sense of belonging to our community – sharing ideas and listening to what others have to say, developing friendships, and a 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.

General Goals for the 3/4's Room

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, numbers and letters, authors and illustrators, 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!

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