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.
Children are engaged in developmentally
appropriate learning experiences as they explore their world. Children
use a variety of materials including paint, blocks, dramatic play
props, puzzles and manipulatives and books to investigate topics of
interest. Units of study include family and self, food and nutrition,
multicultural music, water, transportation, community helpers,
animals, forests and garden and authors and illustrators. Literacy
learning is a vital part of each study as children participate in
storytime, bookmaking, drawing and painting, songs, fingerplays, and
group discussions about each study. Skills from all academic subject
areas - math, science, social studies, music, creative movement and
fine arts are integrated within each study.
Teachers and the Learning Environment
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 a lead teacher and either an associate or assistant teacher,
(younger age groups have additional teachers). All 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 and IUSB. 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. If a child attends full day or half day they
receive the benefits of a well rounded early childhood program.