MCS Early Childhood Education Center
The Madeleine Choir School’s Early Childhood Education Center provides a full-day program and an optional half-day program for four-year-old students, while also serving a limited number of three-year-old students in both half-day and full-day formats.
The Madeleine Choir School seeks to provide learning opportunities that foster the development of the whole child. The foundational years of a child’s academic journey are critical to their success as a learner. The development of a child’s social, emotional, and intellectual skills are the formational pillars fostered in our early childhood classrooms.
Pillars of MCS Early Childhood Education
Play in a supportive environment involves all “ingredients” of active learning, including materials to play with and manipulate; choices about what, where, how, and with whom to play; child thought and language as they play; and the incorporation of early literacy skills and mathematics. Through purposeful play, young children learn to be engaged students and gain skills to grow as a learner.
Our curriculum focuses on the plan-do-review process. This strategy focuses on self-regulation and executive function during play. We emphasize initiative, planning, engagement, problem-solving, and reflection in social/emotional and academic learning. We purposefully plan content based on the Utah Core Standards for Early Learning (ages 3 – 5) that focuses on language development, mathematics, early literacy, and lifelong learning practices.
Learning is not linear; learners have periods of significant growth, plateaus, and even the occasional regression. Multi-age classrooms provide children the ability to work at their own pace without the added pressure of keeping up with the whole group or being held back by their peers. This approach allows educators to meet the needs of individual students based on their proficiency in a variety of areas.
Students have the opportunity to become mentors to their peers, while learning and practicing important leadership skills. This is a natural way for students to begin valuing patience and empathy, as they learn how to help others by sharing expertise with tasks that they themselves have mastered. To teach something, you must first have that mastery, and the process of passing it on—of teaching by example and communication, of reminding oneself of the specific steps, of seeing how to correct mistakes—reinforces mastery and requires higher level thinking skills. By helping peers, students further expand their knowledge. They learn the foundations and pleasures of taking responsibility and being appreciated. This practice builds confidence in learners and emphasizes their individual strengths.
Mirroring Real Life
Community is built purposefully through multi-age Pre-K classrooms and throughout the MCS experience. In grades K-8, students engage in cross-grade activities that include school families, reading buddies, Mass buddies, research fairs, and intervention groups. Our Choral program and Collegium courses provide rich experiences of cross-grade learning opportunities and collaboration. There are few areas in life in which people are split into groups with others who are exactly their chronological age. Whether in the family, the workforce or elsewhere, people ultimately need to coexist with people older and younger than themselves. The multi-age pre-k classroom reflects this natural structure.
Working with a diverse group of peers teaches all students that neither ability nor intelligence are fixed, but are skills that can be grown over time.