EDCS offers the following programs to meet the needs of children through third grade:
Accredited Montessori Primary and Elementary Classes
The purpose of our Montessori Classroom Program is to provide the early intervention strategies and education that young children desperately need for academic success both now and in the future.
For over 30 years EDCS has implemented classroom programs designed to inspire children to take initiative, make choices, and learn more than is required. Children learn to work independently and to take initiative. Rather than sit back and wait to be told what to do, they arrive at school each morning with ideas already percolating about what project they are going to tackle that day. The result of our innovative classroom environment is a strong educational foundation for children most at risk of failure in school.
Parents as Teachers Program
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Parent Education includes the following four components:
• Personal Visits: A trained Parent Educator is assigned to each family in the program making home visits every four to six weeks. Parent educators share age-appropriate child development information while helping moms and dads put into practice techniques for language development, exercise, discipline, and fun with their children.
• Screening: In addition to increasing parent knowledge of child development, the Parent Educators perform screenings for early identification of development delays and health, vision, and hearing problems. If developmental problems are found, families are referred to community services which specialize in the area of concern.
• Group Meetings: The parent component of the P-3 Program also includes monthly group meetings which meet at the EDCS campus. Pediatricians, child psychologists, and other community experts lead discussions on topics including child healthcare, education, nutrition, and parenting tips. During each meeting child care is provided and a nutritious meal is served. All of the families on the waiting list for Parent Education are invited to these meetings with many clients also bringing friends and family.
• Resource Network: Parent Educators help families identify and connect with needed resources. This may include instructions on how to access resources at the local library or how to fill out “CHIP” and Medicaid applications.
The After- and Before-school Care Program or ABC is a program targeting families who require assistance with child care while Mom and Dad earn a living. The goal of ABC is to provide steady, stimulating, and affordable care for EDCS students during the gap between parents’ work schedules and their children’s school schedules.
The project’s activities are simple. Children play and interact—free from both televised and live violence—and extend the lessons learned in the classroom to the less structured, more informal setting of the playground and recreation space. Staff members develop relationships of trust with the children, providing adult to child friendships that can be a missing link for many inner-city children. Parents are able to give the time and energy necessary to support their family, secure in the knowledge that EDCS is providing their children with a safe, stimulating environment during hours that can be unproductive or even dangerous for children left alone.
The P-3 Program offers a multi-faceted, systematic approach to addressing the developmental needs of low-income, inner-city children from birth to age three, and teaching their parents to be actively and confidently involved in their child’s education. It includes two components:
- - a Parent Education program based upon the nationally acclaimed “Parents As Teachers” or “PAT” Program
- - an Infant/Toddler classroom, which serves as a model of early childhood education for the very youngest children
The goal of P-3’s Parent Education component is to help mothers and fathers of very young children develop their parenting skills in order to become the “best first teacher” for their child thus increasing their child’s school readiness and school success. Parents enroll during pregnancy or after the birth of their child, and remain with the program until the child is three years of age.
The second main component of the P-3 Program is the Infant/Toddler classroom. This component is offered on the EDCS campus during regular school hours and is implemented using the Montessori teaching method. The ratio of children to teachers is less than six to one which allows our teachers to better guide each child’s language development, social interaction, movement, and exploration. The result is a child that becomes more self-sufficient and is better prepared to enter the pre-school classroom.
The single most important factor that determines a child’s success in school and later in getting and keeping a good job is the ability to read. Reading is the key to academic success. In contrast, the inability to read is devastating in its impact. The EDCS reading program uses specific classroom instruction, extensive library resources, and tutoring from specialized reading instructors to ensure that all of our students develop good reading skills at an early age.
The expected outcome of the Reading Program is to have all of our students reading at or above grade level. For students needing additional help one of two successful outcomes always results from this program: (a) a child previously struggling reaches and sustains reading skills at or above grade level, or (b) a learning difference requiring more serious intervention is identified, and the child receives the service he needs to succeed in school.
The Playtimes Program at EDCS addresses emotional stresses that can manifest themselves in poor academic performance, social withdrawal, or violent behavior. The Playtimes Program uses group or individual sessions focused on helping children manage emotional and/or behavior problems.
Most children who participate in our Playtimes Program show improvement almost immediately: increased interest and engagement in school work, improved relations with peers and family members, and continued progress toward the academic achievement expected of all EDCS students. Those who do not improve are referred to more advanced social service providers. Playtimes is an investment of time that (1) solves small emotional issues before they grow into larger, serious behaviors; and (2) identifies larger emotional and mental health issues that require more advanced intervention.
Summer School Program
The Summer School Program is designed to be a supportive and enjoyable environment where our students can make steady progress in their academic ability. The program complements EDCS’s school year programs by reinforcing skills and strategies previously taught to students and giving them additional practice and instruction.
Children in the Summer School Program make significant progress and are much better prepared to continue progressing with their classmates when school resumes in the fall.