The primary focus of preschool at The Early Learning Center at Everett Community College is to prepare the children for success as students and as compassionate members of our community. These goals are achieved as we provide opportunities for expression and exploration through child initiated activities.
Our classroom planning and curriculum is fluid and changes as we recognize specific needs of all of our students. Teachers practice “emergent curriculum” by helping the children to plan class projects and activities, therefore encouraging the child to take a lead role in researching, discovering, and learning about their world.
We strongly believe that play is the work of children, and it is through play that we can most effectively connect with children and build secure and trusting relationships. We recognize the family as the first and most important teacher in a child’s life, and strive to build a team relationship with all of our families, inviting parents to be a part of our classroom whenever possible, and seeking to connect the classroom to home.
7:15 a.m. - ELC opens
Children from all preschool classes enjoy community time in the Cedar classroom until their classrooms open for the day. The Cedar room provides a relaxing, quiet space for sleepy children to say goodbye to their families and prepare for a new day. Some children choose to explore the classrooms centers on their own or with friends, others take a minute to relax and ease into the morning in our cozy corner surrounded by pillows, stuffed animals, books and quiet sensory activities. This is a quiet time of day when our teachers enjoy connecting with the children and helping friends prepare for the day.
8:00 a.m. - Children go to their classrooms for breakfast
All of the children go to their own classrooms to enjoy the first meal of the day. Our fantastic cook prepares nutritious and enticing meals to fuel our minds and bodies. At meal times, children and teachers sit together to practice family style dining by serving their own food, practicing our mealtime manners and connecting through conversation.
8:30 to 10:00 a.m. - Learning experiences in the classroom
The children are encouraged to visit any of the multiple learning centers in our classrooms. At any point children are free to create their own work at the art center or to imagine and pretend while they try on adult roles in our dramatic play area. They may also choose to build with blocks, race cars, or make a train track in the block center. Puzzles, beads, and small motor development toys are available in the manipulative centers, and our Literacy areas are stocked with a rotating supply of children’s books and a writing desk. During this time of day children thrive from the opportunity to direct their own activities and exert control over their own.
At this time, small groups are often invited to participate in enrichment activities outside of the classroom. In the garden children help to plant, water, weed and grow flowers and vegetables. The art studio provides space for large scale or long term artistic creations. Our active room provides a safe place for children to run, tumble, throw and otherwise work on large muscle exercise and development. Each preschool classroom has an outdoor extension to or back yard, where children are free to run and climb, dig and build in an open setting.
10:00 a.m. - Morning snack is served
The children are encouraged to take turns assisting in cleaning the tables and setting snack set up for their friends. Once again, we model family style dining and conversation in order to teach the children how to listen and communicate with peers.
After snack to 11:00 a.m. - Circle time, story time, or group meeting and small-group projects
Children are invited to participate in some kind of circle time, story time, or group meeting. On any given day, this might include a community meeting, group planning, singing, dancing, or a number of other large group activities. Group size in our preschool classrooms can be up to 18 children with 3 teachers. This is in line with best practice recommendations from the National Association for the Education of Young Children, rather than Washington State’s maximum ratio of one teacher for every 10 preschoolers.
Following large group time the preschoolers and teachers get into groups no larger than 6 children with 1 teacher to work on small group projects. These projects usually compliment the theme of study the children have planned for the week. Activities at this time might be drawing or painting, playing preschool concept games, cooking projects, pre math games, or other activities useful for skill assessment. This is a helpful time of day for the teachers to give one-on-one time as the children work on new skills and asses areas concepts and individuals that need further attention.
11:00 a.m. - Recess
Our fantastic preschool playground is equipped with plenty of space to roam, hills to climb, a fort/playhouse, stage, climber and slide, and tricycles and scooters. (Every child is issued their own helmet that stays here at school and is required for use of the bicycles and scooters.)The teachers will set out special interest activities such as bubbles, water tables, art supplies, and sports equipment, but recess truly belongs to the children!
Noon - Lunch, followed by rest
At noon, after they’ve had sufficient time to get the wiggles out and work up an appetite, the children enjoy a delicious lunch. Our lunch always includes the USDA requirements of milk, protein, grain, fruit and vegetable. Lunch is followed by a rest period. All of the children are provided with their own cot and blanket and are encouraged to rest their bodies by enjoying a quiet book or listening to soothing music. Most students will fall asleep and take a nap during this time. Those who do not fall asleep are invited to get up after their friends have fallen asleep and either play quietly at the tables or take a trip outside, to the art studio, active room, or garden.
2:30-3 p.m. - Afternoon snack
As the nappers wake, the non-nappers return to their classrooms and are offered an afternoon snack. During this time we begin to see parents and prepare to go home. Limited centers are opened for the children as they finish their snack, and everyone helps to put the classroom away for the night.
4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. - Afternoon recess, playtime, and goodbyes
Each class makes their way outside for afternoon recess and an opportunity to play with friends in other rooms. Parents are invited to join us for some playtime, to visit with teachers or friends, and to see all of the amazing things we made and did and learned during the day. Good-byes to teachers and friends are promptly followed up with the promise of “I can’t wait to play again tomorrow!”