History of the Early LEarning Center

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The Cape Eleuthera Early Learning Center was founded in the fall of 2013 with pioneer students aged 2-6 years old from our growing community of staff and faculty pre-school and primary school children. Since then, the ELC has expanded to accept children from 2-10 years old and from the local communities of South Eleuthera.

The ELC follows the same principles of experiential education and outdoor learning as the Island School and Deep Creek Middle School.

The learning and teaching at the Early Learning Center is in honor of the memory of our young friend Christopher M. Morris, Jr. from Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina, who loved fishing, boating, and exploring at Cape Eleuthera with his parents and grandparents.


Our Staff


Our mission

The Cape Eleuthera Early Learning Center’s mission is to nurture the social-emotional and academic development of students through a rich, stimulating, hands-on learning environment that encourages children to use their creativity, curiosity, and intellect to explore, grow, and think critically about the world around them.


Philosophy and Rationale

By incorporating the works of Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and others who have dedicated their life to understanding young learners, we aim to create a positive and meaningful learning environment for the children in which each child is appropriately challenged at his/her developmental level. We aim to develop respect by learning to care for ourselves, each other, and the world around us. With a strong emphasis on the natural environment, we extend our classroom to the outdoors, where we spend many hours exploring and learning. Children in our program benefit from experiential education in a place based environment.


Organization

The Cape Eleuthera Early Learning Center operates under the umbrella organization of the Cape Eleuthera Island School and collaborates with The Island School, Cape Eleuthera Institute, the Center for Sustainable Development and Deep Creek Middle School. We maintain the same goals and vision of the organization, working to make change through education, research, and leadership.


Curriculum

At the Early Learning Center, teachers use an inquiry-based approach to actively engage students in purposeful, meaningful, and authentic learning. Both the process and outcomes of learning are valued for their contributions to developing deep understanding and critical thinking. Students are actively involved in the entire learning process as individuals and by working collaboratively. Teachers use students’ interests and curiosities to guide the creation of the units of inquiry and to facilitate the inquiry process of questioning, exploration, research, creation, presentation about their learning, and reflection.

As students grow in their learning capacity, they strive to achieve progressively more challenging learning goals with the appropriate support and guidance of teachers. The scope and sequence of academic learning objectives is based on the Common Core standards with the integration of social-emotional skills and a continued emphasis on place-based education.

Learning experiences happen within the classroom and beyond, with students interacting with educators and scientists at The Island School, Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Center for Sustainable Development. Many of the learning experiences also allow students opportunities to collaborate with classmates of varying ages to explore the natural environment of Eleuthera. Other learning will occur with students grouped by age or developmental ability to better meet the unique needs of each individual.  

Daily activities include structured and unstructured times for the exploration of art, music, imaginative play, nature, literacy, math, science, and social studies, and provide for the development of life skills, gross and fine motor skills, and address the emotional, social, physical, and intellectual development of the whole child. Children are encouraged to take care of themselves, others, and the world around them by eating healthy meals, creating friendships, helping around campus, and learning sustainable practices.


Sample Daily schedule (monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)

8:00am

9:00am

9:40am

10:25am

10:40am

11:35am  

12:15pm

1:10pm

1:50pm

2:00pm

3:00pm

3:25pm

4:00pm 

Early Drop-Off // Breakfast

Morning Meeting

Math // Unstructured Exploration at the ELC

Snack

Literacy and Writing // Unstructured Exploration at the ELC

Exploration Time on campus (Forest, Beach, Farm, Boat House, Bridge, Flag Pole, CEI, CSD)

Lunch

Reading // Nap Time

Active Group Game

Inquiry Time // Nap Time (This could include trips away from the ELC)

Closing Circle // Chores

Snack // Unstructured Exploration Time at the ELC

Final Pick-Up Time


Sample wednesday schedule

8:00am

9:00am

9:40am

10:25am

10:40am

12:15pm

1:10pm

1:50pm

2:00pm

3:00pm

3:25pm

4:00pm

Early Drop-Off // Breakfast

Morning Meeting

Math // Unstructured Exploration at the ELC

Snack

Water Wednesday Activities

Lunch

Reading // Nap Time

Active Group Game

Inquiry Time // Nap Time (Depending on the unit of inquiry this could include trips away from the ELC)

Closing Circle // Chores

Snack // Unstructured Exploration Time at the ELC

Final Pick-Up Time

Water Wednesdays

On Wednesdays the ocean becomes our stimulus where we learn about the creatures, tides, currents as well as learning to swim.


As part of the wider community of the Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute, the ELC benefits from unique learning experiences with the opportunity to explore all areas of campus. By taking the classroom outdoors, our daily adventures and exploration takes us to many locations on campus. Some examples include: the farm, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Center for Sustainable Development, the boathouse, beach, ocean, the mangroves and the forest.