Preschool Program

What Makes ECDC Unique

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 also uses Conscious Discipline, a comprehensive classroom management and social emotional program that creates learning environments where children know, “Yes, I am safe,” and “Yes, I am loved.” From this foundation of safety and caring, children will begin learning how to solve conflicts, manage their emotions and take responsibility for their actions. Learn more about Conscious Discipline here.

Daily Schedule

The daily schedule is a thoughtful balance of child initiated activities and teacher initiated activities as well as a balance of quiet and more active experiences and activities. The children spend time in small group activities and individual activities as well as large group activities.

Outside play time is an important element of every day as the weather permits. Small Group Activities are an important element included in each day during both the mornings and afternoons.

Preschool Enrichment Opportunities

Dance/Creative Movement

Parents may register children, for a small fee, for a series of Dance Classes / Creative Movement each semester.

Through Gymnasts in Motion, parents may register, for a small fee, for a weekly gymnastics program. This supports gross and fine motor development, balance and agility.

Field Trips
Children enrolled in the 4’s, 4/5’s and kindergarten groups participate in a variety of field trips in the community, which support their learning.

Special Visitors
Visit the activity rooms to share information and materials regarding topics of interest and topics of study. Special visitors may include storytellers, artists, musicians, writers, parents sharing a hobby or interest, individuals from another country sharing songs, games, traditions, clothing, toys and other aspects of their culture, firefighters, paramedics, police officers.

Special Activities
Music, creative dramatics and gardening/nature are integrated within the program.

Speech and Language Screenings
Speech and Language Screenings are provided once per year during fall semester by the Saint Mary’s College Speech and Language graduate students who also provide speech and language therapy at the ECDC program sites during the school year under the supervision of SMC faculty members.

Parenting Meetings
Family Enrichment Seminars entitled “Conversations About Everyday Life With Children” are offered throughout the school year. Meetings address specific topics related to child guidance, child development, and education with information and resources presented in the context of ECDC’s philosophy. Topics include sibling rivalry, morning and bedtime routines, mealtime struggles, establishing healthy eating, dealing with public tantrums, and insecurity and over-sensitivity.

Curriculum Night occurs in late September for parents at each ECDC program.
6:30-7:30 p.m.   Classroom Meeting – Parents spend time in their child’s classroom learning about the ECDC curriculum and learning goals for the School Year.  This evening event for parents provides the opportunity to get further acquainted with the teachers and learn about the daily schedule, curriculum and program related topics as well as have their questions answered.
7:30-8:00 p.m. Refreshments and Get-Acquainted Time with other ECDC Parents.  FYI – Curriculum Night is for adult family members and lap babies only.

School Readiness Resources / ECDC School Readiness Booklet are shared with families that show how the ECDC program supports a love of learning, school readiness for elementary school, and readiness for life.

Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled two times per year, once in the fall and once in the spring. These 20-25 minute conferences provide families with one-on-one time with their child’s teacher to discuss their child’s progress.

“Our two children as well as our granddaughter attended ECDC. Our two children attended in the 1980s and our granddaughter in the 2000s. During both time periods, ECDC was a home away from home with caring and nurturing teachers who understood how young children grow and learn. Our children and granddaughter thrived at ECDC and adored everything offered from Dance with Miss Bonnie to field trips in the community and all the special visitors (e.g., symphony, zoo keepers, naturalists). They learned so much about the world around them and loved learning at ECDC. –Parents of 2 children & 1 granddaughter who attended ECDC.