During their first year at the ECEC our children in this program undergo the largest physical and mental changes within a school year. They develop new gross motor, fine motor and intellectual skills, while adjusting to their new environment. For many, this is their first experience with non-family members, and their first exposure to a social environment with their peers. Our comfortable, nurturing environment helps to ease the transition as they grow and adjust in these formative years. The classroom is divided into learning centers that intrinsically foster social, cognitive development and academic skills, while engaging students’ desire to learn, as they explore and discover together. Learning together is a valuable experience that they will carry with them for the rest of their school journey. Children are supported and encouraged in all areas of their developmental growth. Evidence of this growth and learning is documented and placed in a portfolio for each child.
The youngest children in our center delight in exploring the world around them. They develop social skills as they learn to care for and respect one another, and as they learn to problem solve. Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the program in Reggio Emilia, has taught us that children express their thoughts and feelings through many, many languages, the spoken word certainly, but also through gesture, music, building, dramatic play, dance, paint, clay and drawing to name a few. Exploring these languages prepare the children for their journey in future project work. The schedule provides a structure that helps the child feel secure and competent.