About River Street Preschool/Early Learning Center
The River Street Preschool/Early Learning Center, located in CREC’s Coltsville facility, is designed to serve students ages 3-5. Because children learn through active exploration, experimentation, decision-making and problem-solving, the classroom is setup into centers of activities to create a rich, stimulating place for each of these types of learning to occur. These include areas for dramatic play, art projects, building blocks, language arts (reading and writing), and science and nature.
This program provides a unique, integrated experience for typically developing preschool children and children with ASD in the context of a developmentally appropriate curriculum. The staff is specially trained in early childhood curriculum and skilled in providing individualized developmentally appropriate educational opportunities. Specific goals for communication and socialization are targeted for development of peer play and classroom skills for each child with autism.
As the children’s skills increase, the number and complexity of the materials increase as well. For example, children will first work with Play-Doh alone, then the teachers will offer them complimentary tools to use with the Play-Doh as their manual dexterity develops. Emphasis and support is placed on the process of learning through the use of developmentally appropriate activities and materials.
The curriculum follows the Connecticut Benchmarks for Preschools, a framework designed to ensure that children obtain skills appropriate for their ages and that they should be demonstrating upon entering kindergarten. Teachers will also meet with parents twice a year to review their children’s activities and development.
Initially, the students will begin together in one classroom so that the younger and older children will learn from each other. At its capacity, the program will serve 42 children in three well-equipped classrooms.
The students at the River Street Early Learning Center will also have the opportunity to interact with students in CREC’s highly acclaimed River Street Autism Program. The autistic students benefit from the chance to interact with typically developing peers, and the typical preschool students benefit as well.
The preschool students will also have access to all the amenities already in place at the Coltsville facility, including a state-of-the-art playground, an indoor gym and even the autism program’s sensory room, which includes an indoor swing and tumble forms – large, soft “blocks” that students can build into tunnels and more.
The River Street Early Learning Center is a year-round program licensed by the state of Connecticut. Students attend a six-hour day, though to better serve the needs of families, the center does offer both before and after school care programs. Parents who live or work in the area are welcome to come in unannounced or even to have lunch with their children.