August 24, 2014 at 12:15 PM
Montclair, NJ - As a result of overwhelming support, the Montclair Community Pre-K (MCPK) has additional spaces available under the Financial Assistance Program.
Now entering their 17th year, the Montclair Community Pre-K is expanding. Using an integrated approach to Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math to ensure that all children are developing the the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Using a project-based learning approach, classrooms deeply explore topics of interest to the children such as dinosaurs, the ocean, super heroes, New York City, to name a few. One of the most notable examples was a construction exploration which was inspired by the construction next door to the facility.
“Thanks in part to the increased national and local recognition of the importance of quality pre-school education, we have had strong support from the Township of Montclair, individuals, and foundations to make sure all children are welcome to attend the MCPK no matter their family’s ability to pay,” said Executive Director, Stephanie Fitzgerald.
As a result of the students' curiosity, the teachers transformed the classroom to focus on construction with the science center using building materials. Students also had opportunities to practice hammering and using a screw driver, the block building center included pictures of various buildings in Montclair (places of worship, houses, restaurants, etc.) and the library included books on construction, engineering, and architecture. Eager to construct something themselves, the children voted on building a restaurant named “Lily’s”. After visiting Raymond’s as a way to get some ideas, the children collaborated to develop a blue print, as well as other construction-related activities.
One of the new MCPK funders is the United Way of Northern New Jersey. “The United Way grant is specifically targeting children who would otherwise not be able to afford such a quality program,” explained JoAnn Quattro, Success by Six Director. Thanks to the broad base of continued support, the MCPK’s nearly 200 children reflect the Township of Montclair in every way—racially, economically, across all 4 wards, all creeds and children with special needs.
Beyond providing quality pre-school to our enrolled families, the MCPK believes strongly in sharing the strengths of the program and facility with members of the community. During the summer, the YMCA utilizes the school, playground and gardens for their New Discoveries Camp, the Family Network Center provides parenting classes, support groups, and crisis intervention and the Early Learning Institute enables educators and parents the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills to increase the quality of their early childhood programs and/or parenting.
Dates to Remember
With major funding provided by the United Way of Northern New Jersey, the Early Learning Institute will be held Saturday, October 18 for families and Saturday, November 15 for early childhood educators.
Whether looking to enroll a child at the MCPK or utilize the playground and gardens, all are invited anytime to visit the new Garden Project Mural, as well as the various gardens developed over the past ten years.
The community is also encouraged to particpate in the Fall Harvest Festival Saturday, October 25, 2014.