EC Mission and Philosophy

The mission of Early Connections is to provide high-quality early education and care for young children so that they are prepared for school, enrich the community by providing support to families, conduct research that contributes to best practices for early education and intervention, provide a training site for university students, and serve as a model for other school districts and early childhood programs.
We support this mission through the following:

  • Practices that build on a child’s individual strengths and interests;
  • Gentle guidance techniques, including modeling and providing appropriate choices;
  • Integrated developmental and family support services and access to resources;
  • Highly-qualified teachers and related service providers;
  • Responsive attention to families’ needs;
  • Carefully-planned, engaging and intellectually-stimulating learning activities;
  • A commitment to professional staff development and incorporation of the most recent research on best practices into our classrooms.



  • All children deserve the opportunity to learn and play with their age-appropriate peers and to be included in all activities and routines of a typical educational setting.
  • Children learn best when they are actively engaged in rich experiences that are in-tune with their interests. Daily experiences should enable creative exploration and play with a wide variety of developmentally-appropriate materials.
  • Teaching practices that build on children’s own interests and extend on play foster a lifetime love of learning, a sense of initiative, and feelings of self-confidence.
  • Each child is respected as an individual and treated in a manner that recognizes their individual strengths, interests, personality and learning style.
  • Learning is most meaningful when it happens in the context of the child's everyday experiences at home and in the classroom. Specialized services are most effective when they are integrated into everyday routines, activities and places.
  • Learning occurs within the context of warm and responsive relationships with adults.
  • The environment should be arranged to foster educational growth and pre-academic skill development through play-based activities.
  • Behavior problems are prevented and best addressed through carefully-planned room arrangements, age-appropriate expectations, and maintaining the active involvement and interest of all children.
  • The goal of discipline is to teach children to control their behavior and negotiate conflicts with others rather than rely soley on adults to intervene and solve disputes.
  • Awareness of and respect for diversity is fostered by many opportunities for children to play with peers who have a variety of abilities and cultural backgrounds.
  • Staff members work in collaboration with families to enhance each child’s daily educational experiences and to promote optimal parenting skills.