Description: History-New Beginning In May 2020 a group of parents and educators (including ELC staff) came together to form an independent non-profit organization to continue strong and supportive child care in the community. The doors of this new Early Learning Center opened on August 31, 2020. The current capacity is 38 children with 9 full-time educators. The ELC originally opened as the Early Learning Center at Saint Michaels College on August 27, 1982, licensed for 15 children in the basement of Hamel Hall on the St. Michael's College campus. The initial group structure was two infants with one teacher, who was also the Centers director, 6 toddlers with two teachers and 7 preschoolers with one teacher. The Center grew over the years reaching a capacity of 42 children and 9 full-time staff members. In February, 2009 the center was moved to a new location, above ground. This current facility includes much more natural light and opportunity to observe the outdoors, easier egress, wheelchair accessibility, separate classrooms, and more. In May 2020, the decision was made by Saint Michael's College to close the Center. The Early Learning Center maintains close ties to the Saint Michaels College community. Philosophy Our center is committed to providing the very best early childhood education experience for every child and family in our care. We believe that each and every child is a unique individual who thrives in an environment where they feel safe and valued. Our center provides a secure base, which nurtures a sense of belonging for every child in our care. We believe that children are competent learners from birth. We value childrens natural curiosity and individual ideas and we facilitate childrens learning through a developmentally appropriate, play-based curriculum. 5 We believe in equity and inclusion. Our center values diversity and celebrates individual differences, and we strive to create an environment that promotes tolerance and creates respectful relationships. We believe in positive partnerships. We understand that parents are the first and most enduring educators of their children and we value the opportunity for meaningful collaboration. Our center welcomes the contribution and active participation of parents and families in our community. We believe in the life-long value of high-quality early education. We understand that a strong foundation in the early years supports the development of resilience and enables every individual to achieve their fullest potential in life. Vision Our vision is to cultivate and create an early childhood community of connection and belonging. We strive to contribute to the development of a stronger, more equitable community in Vermont by creating an early foundation based on respect and kindness. Mission To value children and families and promote positive learning experiences in an environment that inspires curiosity, nurtures respectful relationships and empowers active involvement in the community. Values Values based on the Core Concepts of: Respect (for self and others, fostering an understanding of individual differences and diversity) Sharing (promoting equity and openness, a sense of belonging and responsibility) Health and Wellbeing (promoting physical, emotional and mental health) High Quality Early Education (based on Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), through a play-based curriculum, which is planned and implemented by professional early educators) Partnership (with parents/guardians, colleagues, community
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