Early childhood practice and research have found that a child’s emotional, social, physical, and cognitive developments are interdependent. Learning is most meaningful if it engages the whole child, builds on prior knowledge and experience, and emerges from the interests of the child.
Based on research and practice in the field of early childhood education, we are much more interested in the process of learning than in the products of learning. We are committed to providing a rich and varied learning environment that encourages children to explore, question, experiment, create and play.
Our program encourages positive peer and social relations, development of critical thinking skills, and facilitates the development of self esteem by fostering independence and problem-solving skills.
We recognize the critical importance of play in the development of the whole child. Through creative, experimental play children build knowledge of the world and their place in it.
We maintain a 1:7 teacher-to-child ratio. Although state licensing requires only a 1:10 ratio, we are committed to lower ratios because having more teachers:
Allows us to spend time with each child, developing closer child-teacher bonds of trust, affection, and respect.
Allows us to monitor carefully your child’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical growth and progress, and individualize our program accordingly.
Allows us to work with children in small groups, facilitating development of language and literacy, and social and cognitive skills.
We believe that parents are an integral part of our community and we encourage a strong link between home and school. We value contributions parents make to our understanding of their child and we hope parents will share observations and insights about their child’s experience with us. We look to parents as partners in this shared effort of helping children understand and thrive in the social community of the classroom. Parents are welcome at anytime during the day and we invite you to fully participate in our program while your child is with us.
Our curriculum is developmentally appropriate, emergent, and constructive. This means that our curriculum:
Is appropriate to the developmental stage of each child.
Is concerned with the process of learning rather than the product.
Allows the child to set his/her own learning pace.
Builds on the child’s own interests and abilities.
Encourages the child to question, hypothesize, experiment, discover, solve problems and develop cognitive processes.
Recognizes the value of play in a child’s cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.
Classroom themes, projects and activities often emerge from the children's interests or from events in the life of the classroom or larger community. For example, in September Sitka’s streams are filled with salmon and the woods are full of ripe berries, so we venture outdoors for hands-on experience, then bring these themes back into the classroom with related stories, drama, science explorations, cooking projects, and art.
Children are encouraged to construct their own ideas and theories about their world through play, experimentation, and social interaction rather than simply receiving the information from adults. For example, children might explore the properties of weight and motion by constructing ramps and rolling objects; they learn much more through this hands-on experience than they would from an adult's verbal explanation or demonstration of these principles. Teachers observe and plan carefully to provoke, enhance and extend children's learning.
Play is the developmental task of children through which children come to know the world and their place in it. Through play and planned activities, children experiment, problem-solve, develop social skills, and creatively construct knowledge that is the basis for further learning.
Through our rich curriculum, stimulating classroom environments, and creative play opportunities children gain the skills needed for more formal learning in kindergarten and beyond. Our curriculum emphasizes the process of learning rather than the product. For example, we are more interested that children experience a rich and varied literary environment than prompting them to recite the alphabet. Our goal is to allow children to experience success and develop skills as a natural extension of their inner curiosity and joy in learning.
Development of language and literacy is strongly supported by a curriculum and environment rich with opportunity. The daily schedule and physical environment are constructed to allow for small-group and one-on-one interactions, which are recognized as best for language development. Exposure to high quality children’s literature is woven throughout the curriculum, and language and literacy are integrated into all activities.
Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool was incorporated in 1976 by a group of passionate parents who wanted to offer a rich early learning experience to the children of Sitka. In the 43 years since we have become a vibrant and well-respected component of the local community. We offer morning and afternoon preschool classes and a kindergarten after-school program, and serve approximately 50 children each year.