The Early Childhood Program, or ECP, is designed to get to know the kids and help them grow according to their individual needs rather than group norms. We believe that learning is deepest when kids are interested and engaged, so we build the curriculum into the classroom environment so kids can learn via open-ended experiences in a variety of learning centers, activities, and projects. As teachers, we make sure we are there to support, encourage, inspire, observe, challenge, and guide the children as needed.
We believe that developing self-regulation, self-expression, emotional resilience, and positive social relationships are primary goals during the early childhood years. We work to establish a safe learning atmosphere where the children build supportive relationships with adult caregivers, where the feelings of others are respected, risk-taking is supported, and problem solving is accomplished as a group. We support and encourage positive behaviors. When inappropriate behaviors occur, we apply limits firmly and consistently, making sure the child understands why his/her behavior is inappropriate and giving logical consequences. We provide abundant opportunities for social interaction coupled with appropriate guidance to build empathy, communication skills, as well as problem solving and conflict resolution strategies.
Young children learn best through an active exploration of the world using their bodies and all of their senses. Play is a child’s work! We provide long, uninterrupted blocks of time and a rich, varied environment to stimulate creative, imaginative, and active play experiences. We play and explore nature outside year round, giving the children firsthand experiences with changes in the seasons and weather.
We provide a variety of learning experiences in all kinds of subject areas in our class. The goal is to develop a lifelong love of learning by providing a play-based curriculum in which children can truly enjoy the experiences of discovering and understanding all kinds of topics. We provide a language arts/writing area, library area, manipulative, math, and science area, art and craft area, block and dramatic play areas among other things. We go on field trips, plays games, work on puzzles, and explore all kinds of materials in the water and sensory tables. No matter the time or place, there is never a dull moment and the children have numerous ways they can learn all kinds of different skills in our classroom!
The ECP will get together for anywhere from 5-30 minutes after cleaning up from the morning activities and before we go outside. The goal for our family meetings is to enjoy each other’s company as we come together as a community and spend some time together as a whole class. We will often play group games, sing songs, dance, read books and poetry, tell stories, and work together to solve problems of importance to the class as a whole. We also have Show and Tell on Fridays, and the themes for each week are thought up and decided upon by the class.
Children in the last year of the program (ages 5-6) are considered Kindergartners and they will have a few unique experiences to go along with the rest of the typical curriculum. The Kindergartners will be able to participate in long and short explorations, which gives them more opportunities to interact and learn from older children and other Harmony teachers.
They will also get to work on a Kindergarten project in which the kids will get to research and teach their peers about a topic they are passionate about. They will do a practice one to get a feel of what it’s like presenting to the rest of the group and a final one where they will do another presentation about a different topic of their choosing.
Children enter the program at three to five years of age and must be toilet-trained. The minimum student:teacher ratio is 10:1. Applications for enrollment are accepted at any time. Enrollment decisions are based largely on balancing the class according to age group and gender. Highest priority is given to current students and siblings of other Harmony students. Admission decisions are also influenced by a need to ensure a balanced and diverse group of children within each age group. We accept applications without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.
New students begin at the start of the academic year in the fall. All students are enrolled for the full year (12 months). Families may take a vacation of one to two months and pay a non-refundable, monthly holding fee equal to one third of their normal monthly tuition to hold their child’s space. Parents must inform ECP staff by May 15th of any given year. The schedule changes in the summer; our afternoon teachers lead a very active program with an emphasis on lots of field trips, swimming, and outdoor play. The ECP is open from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM and students bring their own lunches. We close for Winter Break, Spring Break, and for one week and a half before the academic year begins in the fall. Fees are $750/month for full-time. If 9% of your family’s adjusted gross monthly income is more than $750, you would pay that amount, up to a maximum of $1,300/month.