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|Otter Creek Child Center|
|Otter Creek Child Center was founded in 1984 in a turn-of-the-century farmhouse, and strives to maintain the homelike atmosphere it provides. A private, non-profit organization, the center serves children ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years. Otter Creek is committed to providing high quality early care and education for all families. We believe diversity is an essential part of any community of learners.|
Otter Creek strives to be a leader in early
childhood education by offering a curriculum which respects the rights
of children and reflects their ability to construct their own knowledge.
Interactions between teachers and children are nurturing, caring and
respectful of children's individual needs.
The role of the teacher at Otter Creek is to be a researcher; paying close attention to what children are telling us about their interests. Teachers are collaborators; working as partners with parents, children and each other in the support of children's search for understanding. In this way, learning becomes an interactive process that values imagination, creativity and joy, and fosters a love of learning.
|Otter Creek is located minutes from downtown Middlebury; where groups from the Center frequently walk to take advantage of the Ilsley library, Municipal gym, the town and Marbleworks greens and, of course, the Otter Creek itself. The farmhouse in which the center is located has been creatively re-purposed to meet the needs of groups of small children as they grow, explore, learn and form relationships.|
As adults and as a society, it is our job to provide the encouragement, materials and environment in order for children to do so."
Parents are warmly encouraged to spend as much time
as possible at the center. Parent meetings are held throughout the year
which include topics of interest or concern, and an opportunity to be
involved on planning center activities. We hold regularly scheduled
parent conferences, and value highly the richness and harmony that can
come from open communication.
Parents are a valued resource to us; for their knowledge of their children as well as their capability and willingness to support the center through volunteer time. Parents also have the opportunity to have impact on their child's experience here through participation on the Board of Directors.
Our youngest children learn through their senses,
and the skilled teachers in this room provide an environment that
supports children's earliest attempts to gain understanding of their
world. The teachers also provide warmth and caring; nurturing each child
as the individual he or she is.
Otter Creek provides the only program locally in which children can begin as infants and continue on until they enter Kindergarten. This makes for a unique opportunity to create lasting bonds for children parents, and teachers alike.
|In the Otter room we see physical capability, language and communication and developing sense of identity and need for independence emerging. Children are encouraged in this quest for self-awareness and are provided with ample opportunities for exploration and self-expression. Teachers pay close attention to children's ideas in order to support them as they construct their knowledge.|
|Our older toddler group continues to expand self-awareness and to begin to develop relationships with each other. As language becomes more skilled, children learn to negotiate, to plan, to share theories about the how and why of things. Teachers gently guide negotiations and provide opportunities for exploration and expression of ideas. Toilet learning often happens at this time and teachers work together with parents to facilitate successful passage of this developmental phase.|
|Children can spend one or two years in the eagle program where they continue to build on skills begun in the tiger group. They are learning to work as part of a group and developing pre-requisite skills for literacy and math. Children at this age begin to use representation in their art work as a tool for communication.|
|Drawings become elaborate and full of details as they reflect the imagination of the child. Teachers provide children with opportunities to use this skill as a way to find their own answers to questions through interaction, communication and collaboration with each other. These children are creative problem solvers and astound us with their immense capability and enormous potential.|
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