“School is really playful and where I want to go!” says five year old Paige. Her face is bright and smiling and she happily returns to her diligent coloring.
Paige is not alone in her opinion; the Pre-K teachers and assistants all had amazing things to say about the Early Childhood Center and the work that is done there every day to shape the futures of the students in their care.
Mr. Harig has been teaching for more than ten years and he likes the fact that he’s “getting [students] early on so you can have a huge impact on them, that they don’t have to leave here behind.” A typical day for Pre-K students at the ECC consists of small group instruction three times each day, an hour of free play which is important because it provides the opportunity for three important elements to learning: “By allowing them to play they learn to develop relationships with their peers, learn how to play and share and it allows us to work with students one on one.”
Students are also given time with the two Interventionists [Blake Smolen and Mary DeJonge] in groups of one or two where they concentrate on Language Arts and sometime math skills. Teacher Janet Schultz acknowledges that having these interventionists is different than other schools and is an important part of their success. “We have a lot of extra support for kids to get them ready to go to the other elementary buildings.”
At the ECC teachers concentrate on the whole child incorporating signing, activities to teach fine and gross motor skills as well as the necessary academic studies in small groups as well. The contagious spirit of love for kids and excitement for learning and teaching is evident throughout the hallways and each classroom. When asked why she loves the ECC, Mrs Poquette put it simply, “I love my students!”
Thank you to all the teachers, staff and families at the Early Childhood Center! Because of all of you “The kids leave here prepared for Kindergarten, prepared to succeed and the collective success of our whole team is what I celebrate the most.” [Mr. Harig]