The mission of the Early Childhood Learning Center, The Friendship School, a model urban, suburban, collaborative effort between New London and Waterford, is to ensure that all enrolled preschool and kindergarten children will acquire the readiness skills to be active members of a diverse learning community, and that their families are informed advocates involved in the development and education of their children by: maintaining high expectations for language and literacy acquisition through a developmentally appropriate curriculum; and offering full-day, comprehensive support services.
The Friendship School is a model urban-suburban collaborative effort between Waterford and New London with LEARN, the regional educational service center for southeastern Connecticut, serving as the local educational agency for the school. Opened in a new building on the shoreline on August 31, 2005, this unique school serves 520 three, four, and five-year-old children, with its mission to ensure that all enrolled preschool and kindergarten children will acquire the readiness skills to be active members of a diverse learning community, and that their families will be informed advocates who will be actively involved in the development and education of their children. Natural inclusion of children with identified special needs takes place in every classroom, with related services taking place in natural environments within the school with typically developing peers. Full day/full year family-friendly learning opportunities are available, as well as out-of-school-time care options.
- 520 students – three, four, and five-year-old children
- 420 of these will be magnet school students
- 220 kindergarten students – 110 from Waterford, 110 from New London
- 200 preschool students – 100 from Waterford, 100 from New London
- 100 non-magnet preschoolers with IEPs (1046e Grant)
- 60 from New London
- 40 from Waterford
- Full-day, year-round (including comprehensive support services) family resource center
- Kindergarten classrooms are full day with out-of-school-time care options that are funded by parent fees
- Preschool programs are based on individual family and student needs as indicated on the IEPs of children with identified special needs
- Before and after school child care is available on a fee-for-service basis provided by Carelot Children's Center, Inc.
- Head Start and non-Head Start preschoolers have full time educational offerings
- NEASC, Head Start Standards, CT Standards for Preschool and Readiness Programs are included
- School calendar: 180 educational days for students; maximum of 187 for teaching staff; the Waterford school calendar will be followed
- Full day/full year learning opportunities are available with some parent fees funding those options
- Students are selected from each town by lottery
The Friendship School will…
- be NEASC accredited
- promote social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and creative growth in children through a developmentally appropriate curriculum
- provide full day kindergarten and options for year-round program and before and after school time childcare
- educate children in a culturally and economically diverse learning community
- develop children’s readiness skills through a language and literacy-based curriculum
- develop children’s early technology skills in a developmentally appropriate curriculum
- provide all children with high quality, inclusive early education and care
- facilitate a smooth transition for children and families to and from early education programs
- establish positive health, safety, and nutritional practices for children and families
- offer comprehensive children’s support and related services
- promote and facilitate comprehensive family involvement and support
- form partnerships with organizations and businesses from both communities
LEARN is committed to a policy of equal opportunity/affirmative action for all qualified persons. LEARN does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis of race, color, religious creed, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, disability (including, but not limited to, mental retardation, past or present history of mental disability, physical disability or learning disability), genetic information, or any other basis prohibited by Connecticut state and/or federal nondiscrimination laws.
Copyright © 2014 The Friendship School, PK-K