A Preschool Program for
Students Ages 3-5
The Capitol Region Education Council is now accepting applications for enrollment in its new preschool, the River Street Early Learning Center. Designed to serve students ages 3-5, the center is located at 34 Sequassen Street in Hartford in the regional education organization’s brand new Coltsville facility.
Lead teacher Donna Costello is certified and holds a master’s degree in education. 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.
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.
“At this age, children learn from experience. It is vital that children have the chance to actively touch, build and create with a wide range of developmentally appropriate materials,” said Smith.
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 typical students learn empathy and how to handle differences appropriately. Learning alongside others with disabilities is something they will most certainly face in elementary school and beyond. Giving them those skills now – right from their first schooling experience – adds to their social development,” Smith said.
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.
For more information or to schedule a tour, please contact Pat Szafir at the River Street Early Learning Center at 860-727-8481 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.