Opening Fall 2017

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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:

  • The Children’s Learning Center will bring the environment into the classroom 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

Ages 3-5

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

The 2017-2018 school year begins on August 28, 2017. Our 2018 summer program begins June 18, 2018. Download our calendar which outlines scheduled closures and special events.

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

8:00 am: Arrival & drop off
8:00-9:00am: Teacher coordinated learning centers open to all children
9:00-9:30am: Morning meeting & circle time
9:30-10:00am: Snack (2 food groups/provided by staff)
10:00-10:45am: Exploration time (this may include a nature hike, beach visit, or pond walk)
10:45-11:00am: Journal & reflection
11:00-12:00pm: Teacher coordinated learning centers open to all children
12:00-1:00pm: Lunch
1:00-2:45pm: Quiet time/nap time
2:45-3:15pm: Enrichment activities
3:15-4:00pm: Snack (2 food groups/provided by staff) and outdoor play

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.

Secure Your Spot:

$35 Registration Fee

Completed registration form must also be submitted with fee

Download Health

Assessment Record Here

Meet the Team

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.

Phone: 860-701-5348

Laura Elson

Assistant Director/Head Teacher

Phone: 860-701-5348

Ashley Willis

Assistant Teacher

Phone: 860-701-5348

“We seek to let each child’s interests emerge, then guide his or her individual learning experience.” – Kimberly Mansfield, Director/Head Teacher

At the Children’s Learning Center, families, children and teachers partner in the process of learning.

A few words on fit.


"Fit” is the modern buzzword of the college search process. And frankly, rightly so. As you consider your college experience, we encourage you to look for a place that feels right. It’s also a good idea to make a list of the qualities and characteristics that make a college and you a winning combination.


If you are looking for a college that: 


  • Gets to know and understand each student as a uniquely talented individual

  • Identifies potential and encourages students in very intentional ways

  • Fosters growth in each student, giving them a foundation for life and career success

  • Is small enough to deliver on the promise of a personalized experience

  • Goes beyond “career services” and offers a progressive 4-year career development model, partnering with local businesses and nonprofits for professional experience

  • Promotes an inclusive culture that encourages students to experiment in new clubs and activities

  • Is nationally recognized for its academic support systems, from professional content tutors (not students) to proven comprehensive support for students with learning differences

  • Connects students to service opportunities that impact their world

  • Is in a location that offers access to New England’s natural places and some of America’s greatest cities




…Mitchell College delivers in a powerful way.

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