About MRH Early Childhood Center
“The objective of education is to increase possibilities for the child to invent and discover.”
School as Studio
The MRH Early Childhood Center is a place for your children to discover a world of possibilities. It is the home to the Parents As Teachers program, preschool, kindergarten, and first and second grades for the district. Teaching and learning at the ECC incorporates the metaphor of “School as Studio” throughout the preK through 1st grade experience.
At the Early Childhood Center, the student is recognized as a unique and capable citizen. They are seen as a dreamer and a collector of ideas that takes joy in creatively representing, interpreting and expressing his or her thinking by using various media. Student-generated work may result in performances (drama, dialogue, performance tasks, etc.), products, and artifacts (photos, pictures, constructed objects, journal entries–student’s sharing their work with other students, and self-reflection).
The curriculum incorporates the arts as a vehicle to inspire and teach. Works of art and the artistic process provide models for learning and knowing. The curriculum is characterized by integration (arts into academics; academics into art) and the exploration of big ideas and small moments.
Instruction is inquiry-based; the posing of questions and the rigorous investigation of those questions is encouraged. Instruction is characterized by cooperative and collaborative learning, active and experiential learning, project-work based on student questions and interests, and rigorous student exploration of questions.
The environment, both in the classroom and in the school encourages artistic exploration—it is seen as the “third teacher”. The environment is characterized by visually appealing classrooms. Within each classroom or studio space, students are offered different materials and textures; a print-rich environment; natural materials; incorporation of different “levels” of physical elevation to enhance student perspective; spaces for individual, small group, and large group activities, and hallway and classroom display space for student work.
The teacher facilitates student exploration and carefully studies the academic, creative and social progress they make so they might better plan the next learning experience. Teacher facilitation is characterized by documentation, varied assessment methods, and rich dialogue with students.
The process of observing, questioning, experiencing and reflecting are all integral pieces of meaningful learning at ECC. The content areas of literacy, math, science, the arts, sociomoral development, and motor development support this learning. Teachers work diligently to integrate national, state, and district standards in all academic areas with the emerging ideas and questions of the children. The attitude of seeing the child, parents, and community members as co-researchers in the important work of the school is unique.
ECC teachers have looked to the renowned early childhood programs of Reggio Emilia, Italy, named as one of the best educational systems in the world, to inspire their work. In their world renowned preschools, children, families, and teachers are co-researchers considering big ideas and important questions. Understandings gained from collaboration, dialogue, exploration, and negotiation are documented. This visible learning takes many forms from panels, portfolios, videos, audio recordings, photographs to full scale exhibits.
At MRH we are learning together how to make this work grow in the context of our community through first grade. Being inspired by the experiences of the Reggio schools continues to assist us in valuing and honoring the rights of young children.
The MRH Early Childhood Center works with the non-profit Mosaic Services to provide additional resources and support for some of its students.