Early Childhood Center Curriculum

A girl playing in an early childhood center classroom

honoring children where they are now

The ECC curriculum is based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy, recognized internationally as an exemplary model of early childhood education. The Reggio philosophy is an excellent fit with Community School's mission and program.

Hallmarks of Reggio-inspired education are:

  • A creative, stimulating, and beautiful environment;
  • An emergent curriculum drawn from the children's interests
  • Collaborative project work including frequent outdoor experiences;
  • In-depth art projects based in the "atelier" or art studio;
  • Daily documentation of students' experiences;
  • Parents as important and valued partners.

A Day in the ECC

Our Daily Schedule

Greeting Time/Free Exploration: 8:00-8:45 a.m.

Arrival time is between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. Children transition from their parents at different rates, therefore some children may take more time to say goodbye than others. Parents are welcome to join their child in the classroom, do a puzzle, or perhaps read a book together. The children are also free to explore the room, help prepare snack, or use art materials at this time. It is important that all children are settled by 8:45 a.m. so we can join together as a community, clean up, and prepare for Morning Circle.

Morning Circle and Snack: 9:00-9:30 a.m.

Our Morning Circle can include any or all of the following: we sing, listen to stories, share news, discuss classroom events, develop projects, collaborate, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and revisit our documentation. We also come together and share a healthy snack.

Enrichment Time: 9:30-10:30 a.m.

After our snack we discuss the areas of the classroom that are open for exploration. The children choose from a variety of areas where they can investigate and work on ongoing projects. These choice areas may include: our Atelier (the art center is full of engaging materials for spontaneous creativity), the building zone, dramatic play/ family room, the sensory table, the science center, the writing table, or perhaps the reading loft. We often will go on “nature walks” with small groups, weather permitting. On certain days of the week we will also visit the school gym, the theater, or the music or science rooms during this time.

Outside Recess: 10:30-11:15 a.m.

We try to go out every day, even if it’s cold and blustery, but if it is pouring rain we will often have gym time instead.

Lunch: 11:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

We come together and get ready for lunch at approximately 11:30 a.m. Teachers and children sit together, practice manners and share in conversations. The children bring their lunches from home.

Free Flow & Closing Circle: 12:15-1:00 p.m.

After lunch we have a short free-flow time in the classroom or out on our courtyard. We then come together for our Closing Circle, during which the children may lay down and get cozy while we read aloud and reflect on our day. If parents are a little early for the 1:00 p.m. pick-up, they are welcome to join us on the rug.

After-School Care: 1:00-5:30 p.m.

For an hourly fee, children may stay from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m. There will be a rest/nap time, during which teachers play soothing music while children lay on their mats, typically with a special soft toy or blanket from home. The youngest children will nap at this time. Following quiet time, children play, work in small groups, bake, act, create, or visit the gym or playground.

Daily Documentation

Teachers record and photograph the children’s experiences each day. Copies of our documentation will be available for parents .

Note: Toileting and diapering will take place as need be, as well as during transitions time through out the day.

After-School Care

Community School offers After-School Care for ECC students each school day from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Our Early Childhood classrooms are inviting, provoking, and dynamic places that emphasize a joyful and playful culture, as well as reflection and rich dialogue. They are beautiful, light-filled rooms brimming with small communities of deeply engaged participants. They are places where teachers are fully hands-on and wholly present, alongside children. They are environments that honor childhood, and who each child is right now. They are cozy, intimate "second homes" that support young children as they learn to be in the world with others, grow into their individual selves, problem-solve and interpret the world.


Lisa Dirksmeier, ECC 1 Class Faculty and Current Parent