Eye on ECCS: StormHawks Preschool

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View the StormHawks Preschool video! EyeonECCS-StormHawksPreschool.mp4


NOTE: Occasionally throughout the school year, we will visit a school across Eastern Carver County Schools. Some weeks the plan may be to stop in multiple classrooms by grade, or by subject. Other weeks it may highlight a certain specialist group. The purpose is to give families and our community a glimpse into the every-day learning environment happening in our buildings. A chance to spotlight the incredible work our teachers and staff do on a daily basis for our students, and to showcase the incredible work our students produce as well. So, keep your Eye on ECCS!

“People here love what they do. You don’t end up in Early Childhood by accident,” said Amanda Baumann, leader of ECCS Early Childhood preschool programs.

Many teachers and para-professionals throughout the StormHawks Preschool have been in the district for 10-plus years. Patti Thompson, teacher in the Nature Preschool class, has been a teacher for 30 years.

“I am a lifelong learner myself so I enjoy creating an environment where all children learn and achieve their personal best. I enjoy the challenge of building relationships with the children in my classes and then creating a curriculum based on the needs of the children. I also enjoy learning alongside the children. They are some of my best teachers!” Miss Patti said.

Nature Preschool, a place where children learn and grow surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors; the ultimate classroom for curious young minds, is currently in its second year. 

The class heads outdoors each afternoon, whether it’s fall, winter or spring. Miss Patti said kids are “disappointed” when it’s too rainy or too cold to be outside. The expectation, though, is most days class is held in the elements. Families are notified ahead of time on what gear they’ll need for the week.

Baumann said Nature Preschool develops “different motor skills” and students gain “more independence” than in a traditional preschool classroom. “(Nature Preschool) utilizes different ways of thinking and learning. There’s a little more social time. We’re excited about the growth of the class. We’re in a great spot,” Baumann said.

Nature Preschool explores different parts of the Family Learning Center campus each day. It may be the forest behind the building, a walk to Lake Grace or outdoor classroom space. 

“Nature has always been a part of my teaching. Nature has always inspired me,” Miss Patti said.

Nature Preschool partners with Camp Fire Minnesota in Chanhassen to provide off-site experiences every other Wednesday with Youth Program Naturalist Sylina Hertel. Students will visit Camp Fire Minnesota each week next school year.

The success of Nature Preschool is shown in registrations for next school year. The class is full.

In addition to Nature Preschool, Eastern Carver County Schools Community Education offers a Taste of Preschool for 2 to 3-year-olds as well as 3- and 4-year-old preschool classes. In addition to the Family Learning Center preschool classes, there are preschool options at La Academia, Bluff Creek, Chanhassen, and Victoria elementary schools

Visit https://ce4all.org/programs/early-childhood/preschool to learn more about StormHawks Preschool!

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