The CID Anabeth and John Weil Early Childhood Center (ECC) curriculum incorporates best practices from general education emphasizing emerging literacy, pre-academics and social skills. Everything we do targets an area of child development while building speech, language and listening skills. Children ages 3 to 5 play, learn and have fun in the CID ECC. We provide individual, assessment-based instruction in listening, language and speech while focusing on all developmental milestones. Our goal is to prepare each child for success in a general educational environment.
CID ECC teachers keep a busy schedule that includes auditory learning, language and speech as well as creative movement, music, early literacy experiences, pre-academics, early computer use and social skills development. The daily schedule is designed to provide lots of play in a series of instructional settings. Structured settings focus on intensive instruction of listening, language and speech skills in small groups of 1–2 children. Additional direct language instruction occurs in groups of 4–5 to promote the skills associated with listening and conversing in a group. In addition, during a centers-based language period, larger groups of about 15 students practice using all of their listening, language, speech and social skills. This helps them prepare to make the transition to a larger general education setting.
Listening, language, speech and reading are the foundation for our students’ later academic success. Our ECC program emphasizes the development of listening, language and speech skills necessary to achieve literacy. Read-aloud stories and creative, real-world activities involving phonemic awareness, alphabet knowledge, print awareness and print conventions ensure students are ready to read when they begin academic instruction at the kindergarten level.
All of the children receive instruction from master’s level teachers of the deaf in a loving, colorful, child-friendly, print- and language-rich environment. The staff is supervised by a coordinating teacher with many years experience teaching children who are deaf and hard of hearing to listen and talk. The teachers work together with expert onsite audiologists, speech-language pathologists and an occupational therapist to help ensure an optimal learning situation for each child. A state-of-the-art computer SmartBoard in every classroom and the discovery room provides unlimited interactive learning opportunities.
Parents are, of course, our teachers’ most important partners in their children’s education. Parents are invited to observe and participate in the classroom and to communicate often with the teachers and department coordinator. The teachers provide useful language activities to do with their children during everyday activities at home to support their progress.