The ECS specialty experiences are for all classes, at all ages. The cost of these programs is included in tuition; there are no additional costs.
We know that music is among the first and most important modes of communication experienced by infants. The youngest children lack the gift of speech, but they are deeply responsive to the emotional connection created by music. With our younger children, songs and music communicate adult love and the experiences of joy and delight; they teach children the world is a pleasurable and exciting place to be. This music experience is essential to the depth and strength of an early foundation for learning and for connecting to life itself.
As young children grow, music continues as a basic medium not only of communication, but of self-expression as well. Through music, children expand their cognitive universe as they first experience, and later learn to produce, sounds organized to carry musical meaning. Music expands memory and assists in developing crucial language skills. Music exerts a multiplier effect on reasoning skills, especially on spatial reasoning. Music also reinforces such logical and perceptual ideas as beginning and ending, cause and effect, sequence and balance, harmony and dissonance, as well as arithmetic concepts such as number, enumeration and timing
In the ECS program children not only listen to and respond to music, but also learn to make music by singing and playing instruments together. They create important contexts for the early learning of vital life skills such as cooperation, collaboration and group effort.
We recognize children are born with thousands of ideas and have hundreds of languages of expression. These languages might include painting, singing, building, taking apart, or drawing – the possibilities are endless. In our art studio, it is our goal to provide as many of these methods of communication as possible and to be open to the possibility of many, many more. Children spend time in either the art studio or recycled materials studio as they are provided with provocation.
Our Physical Education program is based on the developmental stages of the children in each age group. Our teachers observe the gross motor development of each child and plan curriculum accordingly. This type of individualized approach allows for many opportunities to celebrate the work of the children. Children explore movement in a safe and enriching environment through relational games, stimulating provocations and the exploration of age-appropriate equipment. Open-ended movement and dance are a foundation of this program, creating an important environment for celebrating relationships and fostering a love of movement.
Library (Mercer Island campus only)
Our Mercer Island ECS library program celebrated its tenth anniversary in spring 2012. Our librarian has spent years collecting books for our library which now has more than 1,000 titles. Children visit our library with their classroom teachers to read to the children in our literacy-rich space and check out books to take home.
Swimming (Mercer Island campus only)
Our ECS swim program is based on the developmental stages of the children in our 3 year old to kindergarten age groups. Trained lifeguards and swim instructors facilitate the children in becoming accustomed to and comfortable with the water. This program is an open-ended free exploration time in the pool and therefore creates a very positive first experience for the children and ultimately a love for the water.