A Parent’s Guide to the ECFE Classroom

Early Childhood is a magical time of learning in many different ways. Children learn through doing, watching, playing, decision-making and, perhaps most commonly, touching.

Our ECFE classrooms are designed with all these aspects of learning in mind. We intentionally design our learning space and activities with a child’s perspective as our guiding focus. Materials are kept at their level, touching and experimenting is encouraged, and space is given for them to choose the activity that appeals to them.

Because this is so different from the way that many of our structured “grown-up” worlds work, we put together a 3 step guide to navigating our classrooms with your child.

  • Activities are set out as suggestions for play, there is no right or wrong way to engage in them. The best way to approach the activities is to take your child’s lead and then talk to them about what they are doing. For younger children you can narrate what you see them doing “I see that you are stacking those blocks…” For older children you can ask them open ended questions that help you to understand their process and to help expand on the way they are thinking “I like the way you used that blue paint, what do you think would happen if you added another color?” Simply being present and engaged in their playing is impactful to their development and any conversation is going to help boost their continually growing vocabulary!
  • Not every area needs to be used! If your child is fascinated by the sensory table for the entire class, that’s fine! Children have a way of intentionally working on things that they are hoping to master. Sometimes the simple action of filling a cup and dumping it out is building mathematical or scientific understanding in their brains. Cars and ramp play also stimulates parts of their brains that we may not completely understand, but no play is wasted play. Embrace where they are and try to see their play choices through their eyes.
  • It’s ok to be messy! We believe that process-focused art and sensory experiences are an important part of the learning experience. All of our materials are as washable as possible and we are pros at cleaning up the “oopses” that are bound to happen. Feel free to have them wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, take advantage of our painting smocks and don’t worry if the mess gets on the table! Think of our classroom as the safe spot for all that is gloriously messy and also as the spot for all that you may not want to do at home.

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