Welcome to the Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College!
About the Program and Educational Philosophy
The Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College has a curriculum nested in its environmentally rich surroundings. Based on principles that make children partners in the learning process, the curriculum is driven by each child’s unique curiosity.
Reggio Emilia Approach
Our focus incorporates the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. This inspired way of teaching originated in Italy and maintains the belief that the classroom environment is shaped by the children’s interests, the community, and the value of learning hands-on.
At its core, the program recognizes that:
- All children have potential and curiosity.
- Children have interest in relationships, in constructing their own learning, and in negotiating with everything the environment brings to them.
- Children should be considered as active citizens with rights and, along with their families, are contributing members of their local community.
Our methods are built on these principles:
- At The Children’s Learning Center the environment and classroom merge through experiences with the surrounding woods, pond, and beach.
- Our teachers and children will guide their own learning. They will integrate curiosity and rich materials with natural possibilities as they observe and listen to each other’s needs. Teachers use their understanding of best classroom practices to ask questions and discover the children’s ideas, hypotheses, and theories.
- The families, children, and teachers will work together as a partnership in the process of learning.
Designed for Children
Full Day Rate: $205 per week (8am-4pm)
Half Day Rate: $145 per week (8am-1pm)
$10 per hour for before care or after care
$10 per week if not potty-trained
10% discount for more than one child
The Children’s Learning Center is located adjacent to the Mitchell College campus at 701 Montauk Avenue in New London, CT in the historic Chappell Cottage. Uniquely surrounded by the natural beauty and outdoor learning lab of Mitchell Woods, The Children’s Learning Center offers to its young learners access to a wetland pond, estuary and sandy beach on the Thames River at the mouth of Long Island Sound. Our setting naturally affords opportunity for discovery and exploration!
For tour information, please contact us at 860-629-6109.
2017-2018 School Year
Our 2018 summer program begins June 18, 2018. Download our 2017/18 calendar which outlines scheduled closures and special events.
2018-2019 School Year
Classes for 2018/19 begin Monday, August 27, 2018. Our 2019 summer program begins June 17, 2019. Download our 2018/19 calendar.
Inclement Weather Closures
The Children’s Learning Center will be closed or delayed for inclement weather when Mitchell College is closed or delayed.
Hours of Operation
The Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College will be open Monday through Friday from 6:00am until 6:00pm with:
- Full Day Preschool hours from 8:00am until 4:00pm
- Half Day Preschool hours from 8:00am until 1:00pm
- Before Care from 6am-8am
- After Care from 4pm-6pm
Your child may attend a maximum of 9 hours per day. You may choose either M-F Full Day Schedule or M-F Half Day Schedule.
Typical Preschool Day
7:00-8:45am: Arrival + teaching and learning provocations
8:45-9:45am: Open choice time + snack
9:45-10:00am: Morning meeting
10:00-11:00am: Outdoor classroom
11:00-12:00pm: Group activity + teaching and learning provocations
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch + bathroom time
1:00-3:00pm: Rest time
3:00-3:45pm: Story + snack
3:45-4:15pm: Outdoor play + departure
Children who stay an extended day have the opportunity for extended outdoor play, open choice time, puzzles & games in the multi-purpose room, and stories with the teachers.
Early Childhood Education at Mitchell College
Mitchell College, which offers a number of degree programs in Early Childhood Education, will guide the program and college students will be actively engaged in the Children’s Learning Center, bringing best practices, innovation and enthusiasm.
Meet the Team
Our teachers have a strong commitment to provide inspirational invitations for exploring, discovering, and creating. They promise to be attentive, reflective, and joyful. But most importantly, to create the best possible learning environment for your child.
Kimberly Mansfield, MAT
Kimberly Mansfield earned her M.A. in Teaching from Sacred Heart University. She earned a B.S. in Psychology with a concentration in children and youth at Eastern Connecticut State University. In addition to her role as Director and Head Teacher at the Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College, Kimberly is an Assistant Professor in Mitchell’s Early Childhood Education department. Kimberly possesses a Connecticut Head Teacher’s Certificate and has numerous years of experience directing and teaching at child development centers in Connecticut. Kimberly resides in Ledyard with her husband and 2 ½ year old son. She loves to be outdoors at the beach or in her garden and is an avid baker and great home chef.
Martina Bottinelli holds a Master of Arts in Education from Goddard College (a low-residency program based in Vermont), where she focused her studies on the Reggio Emilia approach. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in 2010, and attended high school in Italy. Since graduating from college, she has worked as a pre-k teacher, an infant/early toddler teacher, a special education instructional assistant, an after-school program coordinator, and most recently, the founder and director of a community learning center for children of all ages. While working with children and youth in many different settings over the last decade, Martina learned that her passion lies in Reggio Emilia-inspired early childhood education. She is committed to providing young children with a nurturing, enriching, creative, and playful environment where learning thrives.
Martina’s passions and hobbies include gardening, spending time in nature, cooking, up-cycling and reuse art projects, sewing and quilting, traveling, yoga, and living as close to the ocean as possible.
Ashley Willis earned her Master of Arts in Human Development and Education, with a focus in Early Childhood from the University of Colorado-Denver. In earning her masters, she participated in a teacher education program at Boulder Journey School. Ashley also earned a B.S. in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Education at the University of Vermont. She began her teaching career at an outdoor education program in Vermont, working with children ages 3-15. Since then, she has been teaching in Reggio and play-based preschool and pre-k classrooms in several states as well as abroad. She believes in listening to children’s interests and ideas as well as turning natural moments into teaching experiences. Her love for nature is instilled into her daily teaching practices. Ashley loves spending time with her husband and dog, working and playing outdoors–her favorite place being the family’s property on Block Island and, of course, the beach!