NORWICH – Next week, the staff at Little Ducklings Preschool will host an open house at its new location on 27 West Main Street, welcoming families seeking a balanced and wholesome Reggio-Inspired early education that enables children to express and discover at their own pace.
The Preschool quickly outgrew a Conkey Avenue location by the end of 2015, prompting a move to a more centrally located and easily accessible location the Norwich Center – also home of the Chenango Arts Council, PALS Center, Norwich Theater Company and the Chenango Soccer Club.
Already, Director Theresa Giglio and Early Childhood Specialist and Instructor Rachel Ballin have branched out, forging new relationships within the facility to the benefit of the preschool's 24-and-growing students.
“We've recently worked with the Chenango Soccer Club who have graciously given our children access to their indoor soccer field,” said Little Ducklings Instructor Rachel Ballin. “The new location has so many advantages, and it has allowed us to expand curriculum and actives tremendously, we want to offer it to as many families as possible.”
According to Giglio, at the heart of the Reggio philosophy is the belief that children are full of curiosity and creativity, rather than empty vessels waiting to be filled with facts and figures. The Reggio-inspired curriculum that Little Duckling's incorporates into all three of its age groups is flexible and emerges from children’s ideas, thoughts and observations. “The Reggio goal is to cultivate within children a lifelong passion for learning and exploration,” said Giglio.
Another important attribute of their philosophy, according to Giglio and Ballin, is community engagement. The two affirm that by having the Ducklings involved in community activities such as Colorscape Chenango, the CAC's May Day Celebration and outings to area nursing homes, the children learn valuable community social skills that they keep for life.
So far, Giglio and Ballin's early education philosophies have been a big hit in Norwich, evidenced by their marked growth in just the past year. The two found a niche that had been largely unfulfilled in greater Chenango, and were able to come up with a formula for success.
“It's very had to find a private preschool that's focused on both value and quality education, and that's exactly what we offer.” said Ballin
“We invite the child into environments that engage as many senses as possible and follow the child's lead, giving them the physical and emotional room to touch, taste, smell, observe, listen and wonder,” said Giglio.
Little Ducklings play-based activities include dramatic play, art, sensory, fine and large motor exploration, science exploration, literacy and writing as well as recognizing letters, numbers, colors and shapes and kindergarten readiness.
The preschool also works around the Norwich City School’s calendar, and has even incorporated a new After School program for pre-kindergarten students through second grade beginning March 21.
“We realized that many parents have need after school opportunities for their younger children, so we developed a new program to meet that need,” said Giglio. “We have 14 slots available, the cost is $60 weekly per child.”
Giglio indicated that the program operates from 3–5:20 p.m., Monday through Friday and that transportation from Gibson Elementary to the facility is included in the price.
In addition to that new after school program, Little Ducklings will also host open registration for the summer and fall sessions at the Monday evening Open House as well.
The Little Ducklings open house and registration event will take place at its West Main and Maple street location on Monday, March 14 from 5–7 p.m. The Little Ducklings suite is located on the ground level of The Norwich Center below the Chenango Arts Council.
For more information, call 373-3970 or “like” Little Ducklings Preschool on Facebook.