Description: Welcome and Introduction-The Early Learning Center at Saint Michael's College exists primarily to deliver quality child care to the youngest members of the Saint Michael's College community. These young members, from infancy to school age, will find a nurturing, loving, and stimulating environment which mirrors the larger community of Saint Michael's College. More specifically, the Early Learning Center will provide opportunities and a curriculum for children to grow and develop within an orderly, supportive environment in which cognitive, social, and physical needs are met. The Center will also provide an opportunity for students of human growth and development to observe and interact with children as they play, discover and learn. Our mission-Our mission is to be a high quality early childhood program that supports children and families by creating a welcoming environment where young children thrive and families can find resources, support and encouragement. We strive to create a diverse and inclusive atmosphere. Long tenure and dedication of the staff makes ELC at SMC unique. Life-long learning is core to our mission, encompassing children, students, families, teachers and the community. Philosophy- Our belief at the Center is that each child is an individual with unique characteristics and needs. Children learn best when they feel safe, valued and their needs are met. Caring, qualified staff facilitate learning and development in everything children do by supporting and encouraging each child's needs, ideas and interests. An environment is created to stimulate growth for each child and support a sense of community with the families. Goals- At ELP, each child will feel positive about oneself,- confident and emotionally strong, use open ended, engaging materials, get messy and dirty, have clear, safe boundaries, learn to try new things, learn problem solving and self control, and be part of a larger community of learners. History- The center opened on August 27, 1982, licensed for 15 children in the basement of Harnel Hall. The initial group structure was two infants with one teacher, who was also the center's 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. The new facility includes much more natural light and opportunity to observe the outdoor, easier egress, wheelchair accessibility, separate classrooms, and more. Current capacity is 40 children with 8 full-time staff members.
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