Our Early Childhood Learning Program (ECLP) is based on appropriate early childhood practices and principles. Saint Thomas’ Episcopal Church is committed to the development and enrichment of the complete child, and ECLP guides children to promote their emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and spiritual strengths.
School Philosophy & Core Values
Our curriculum, classrooms, and outdoor activities and carefully designed to support our goals to:
- Promote positive and collaborative learning and problem solving skills
- Produce social skills and emotional awareness to build independence and relationships
- Enhance both fine and gross motor skills to facilitate prewriting
- Grow in God’s love with an understanding of Christianity
- Establish a sense of community and a proper understanding of stewarding God’s creation
Teaching practices are appropriate to each child’s age and developmental status. Our teachers use effective developmentally appropriate teaching strategies. ECLP teachers encourage persistence by modeling attitudes and approaches to problems instead of simply providing the answers. Modeling provokes children’s thinking and enables them to ask questions. Each teacher’s main objective is to foster a love of learning in children. Overall, we encourage creative expression as a process, rather than a product.
Our assessments of children are directly aligned to our curriculum. This assessment process allows for the teacher to know the areas that a child’s development needs strengthening. It also allows for each child to be taught at his or her own level and provides a clear tool to discuss goals with parents. Teachers give specific feedback, create or add challenges, and in some cases, reduce challenges to guide them in the right direction.
Two-Year-Old Program: 24-35 Months (by September 1 of starting year)
Our main focus in the two-year-old program is to introduce a positive school setting to your child — one that allows for a smooth separation and adjustment to a nurturing, educational environment. At two years of age, it is important to teach:
- Emotionally – Teachers facilitate growth into emotional maturity and help your child understand the feelings of oneself and of others, as well as appropriate ways to express feelings through words. We encourage ways to develop independence through learning how to care for oneself.
- Socially – A play-based environment allows many opportunities for children to learn to take turns, to get along with others, to respect the rights of others, to wait patiently, and to begin to understand the feelings of others. During this process, the children will learn to move from parallel play to cooperative play and build relationships with their classmates.
- Physically – Teachers plan activities to promote physical development and autonomy. Your child will work with manipulatives, puzzles, blocks, and dramatic play. Outdoor activities provide for gross motor development.
- Intellectually – Weekly themes provide a basis of discovery in developing problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. Literature is an essential part of our program, as well as our print-rich environment. Teachers provide constant opportunities for the children to use both expressive and receptive language. Children will learn colors, shapes, and counting to 10.
- Spiritually – Teachers assign a weekly Bible lesson. Songs and Bible stories are designed to excite children to celebrate God’s love and to let them know that Jesus is a friend to them. Our teachers will model and guide children to learn to express thankfulness to God through prayer.
Three-Year-Old Program: 36-47 Months (by September 1 of starting year)
Our main focus in the three-year-old program is to continue the foundation of our two-year-old class. Expectations of our three-year-old class grow with more structure in a play-based environment that will help the children:
- Emotionally – Children adapt to a positive learning environment and are encouraged to use complete sentences when communicating. It also builds their autonomy to an emotional security of identifying feeling with words to express them.
- Socially –The teachers model kindness, caring, cooperation, and manners, and they encourage productive conversations between students. Cooperative play becomes more predominant, and it’s encouraged during center time and monitored to enhance social skills.
- Physically – Carefully planned activities will promote the enhancement of fine motor skills. Outdoor play, music, and movement will promote balance and coordination.
- Intellectually – To foster a love of reading and build a strong vocabulary, your child will learn words to nursery rhymes, songs, finger plays, poems, and stories. Your child will recognize letters, both upper and lowercase, with a developing knowledge that each letter makes a certain sound. Letter of the week themes will concentrate on hard consonants and short vowels. Your child will also learn math skills through counting, sorting, classifying, sequencing, and measuring. Various routines during circle time and planned center activities will give your child the ability to recognize numbers up to 20.
- Spiritually – The children begin attending a weekly chapel service. Weekly Bible themes are introduced at chapel, and activities and songs are planned for the week to reinforce Bible lessons.
Please Note: All students in ECLP-3 must be potty trained prior to the start of school.
Pre-K Program: Four-Year-Olds (by September 1 of starting year)
The goal of the Pre-K program is to prepare our students for a smooth transition to kindergarten. While still focusing on social and emotional development, Pre-K has a more academic purpose.
- Emotionally – Teachers encourage the child to become self-regulating and to maintain emotional balance. We focus on listening skills and the ability to follow three-step directions without repeat. We help create a positive self-image for the child by assisting the child in enjoying one’s own company.
- Socially – We begin a “bucket-filling program” to assist the child in learning compassion for the feelings of oneself and the feelings of others. Teachers serve as a role model for positive social interactions
- Physically –With a variety of activities planned to enhance the children’s fine motor skills, each child learns proper pencil grip by the end of the year and has the confidence to write his or her name the kindergarten way. Outdoor activities, music, and movement enhance gross motor skills.
- Intellectually – Teachers carefully plan exciting activities to engage students in learning the phonemes of each letter and simple diagraphs. This phonemic knowledge will provide a pre-reading skill necessary to fully begin reading. Math skills build readiness with a solid recognition of numbers up to 30. Your child will gain an understanding of the concept that both print and numbers have a left to right order. You child will participate in patterning and understand sets of numbers in simple addition and subtraction concepts. Teachers plan fun science activities to build curiosity and engage students in critical thinking skills.
- Spiritually – Our four-year-olds become the leaders of chapel and acolyte at our weekly service. They continue to grow in their relationship with God and the church as a welcoming community.