Educational Philosophy

The ECDC program seeks to enhance the growth and development of the whole child through a developmentally appropriate curriculum. The curriculum equally fosters cognitive, social, emotional, physical and creative growth through experience-based, hands-on learning activities and play. A central goal is the promotion of each child’s self confidence and love of learning. Learning experiences with peers and teachers encourage the development of the 4R’s: respect, responsibility, resourcefulness and responsiveness. The ECDC program believes that the 4R’s are the foundation blocks for democratic living.

ECDC provides a positive and nurturing environment within which young children thrive. We view ourselves as an extension of each child’s family. As such, we work to develop a genuine partnership with parents. ECDC teachers and staff recognize and celebrate the diversity of our children and families. We are committed to establishing an anti-bias curriculum that supports our multicultural community. ECDC welcomes students of any race, color, religion, gender and national or ethnic origin

Teachers and the Learning Environment

The role of ECDC teachers is multifaceted – they design learning activities, guide children’s explorations, nurture the growth of each child and support the development of the classroom community. They build dynamic relationships with families as they share responsibility for the care and education of young children. Each room’s teaching team consists of two co-lead teachers and many rooms also have an associate or assistant teacher. All lead/co-lead teachers have a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education or a related field. Associate and assistant teachers have an Early Childhood Education degree or an Early Childhood Education certificate/CDA. All members of the faculty are certified in pediatric CPR and First Aid. As dedicated and active professionals in the Early Childhood Education community, teachers participate in conferences, workshops and monthly seminars.

ECDC serves as a lab school for students enrolled in education, sociology and psychology programs at the University of Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College, IU South Bend, IVY Tech, and Bethel College. Students assist in the classrooms as student teachers, interns and volunteers as they study how the ECDC program reflects best practices in the field.

The state of the art learning environments of each ECDC site are composed of learning areas, including a place for quiet activities, dramatic play, science, construction, art and writing, and a rich and diverse classroom library. The areas are filled with the educational tools children need to learn, explore, create and discover.

The daily schedule is a balance of active and quiet activities, large group, small group and individual activities and includes both teacher facilitated and child initiated activities. Full day and half day enrollment schedules are available. Children attending with either full day or half day schedules receive the benefits of a well-rounded early childhood program.

“We are thrilled that our child gets to spend her early school years with all of you.   –Parent of ECDC-ND child