[php snippet=1]

Welcome to the Children’s Learning Center!

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 guide their own learning by integrating curiosity and rich materials with natural possibilities as they observe and listen to each other’s needs. Teachers use best classroom practices to ask questions and thus discover the children’s ideas, hypotheses, and theories. Familes, children, and teachers work together as a partnership in the process of learning.

2019/2020 School Year

Classes are currently full for 2019/2020, but we are accepting applications for our waitlist. Please contact us at 860-701-5348 to schedule a tour.

School Year: August 26, 2019 – June 19, 2020
2020 Summer Program begins: June 22, 2020


$205 per week per child for Full Day (8am-4pm, M-F); before care (7-8am) & after care(4-6pm) is included
$155 per week per child for Half Day (8am-1pm, M-F); limited before care & after care is $10 per hour per child
$40 materials fee per child
$10 per week additional fee for a child who is not fully potty-trained
10% discount for more than one child; discount applied to higher priced tuition
Mitchell College faculty & staff receive before care and after care at no additional charge


Download 2019/2020 Registration Form
Download 2019/2020 Health Assessment Form
Download 2019/2020 Financial Responsibility Form

Download 2019/2020 Financial Aid Application


Download 2019/2020 School Year Calendar
Family Handbook 2019/2020 available soon


Complete and submit all required forms with non-refundable $50 registration fee.

Check made payable to:
“Mitchell College” with “CLC” in the memo
Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College
437 Pequot Avenue
New London, CT 06320



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 860-701-5348 or clc@mitchell.edu.

Hours & Typical Day

For the 2019/2020 school year, The Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College will be open Monday through Friday from 7:00am until 6:00pm with:

  • Full Day Preschool hours from 8:00am until 4:00pm (before and after care included in tuition)
  • Half Day Preschool hours from 8:00am until 1:00pm (limited before and after care is $10 per hour per child)
  • Before Care from 7am-8am
  • After Care from 4pm-6pm

You may choose either M-F Full Day program or M-F Half Day program.

Typical Preschool Day

  • Arrival, Invitations & Provocations
  • Morning Meeting
  • Open Choice Time & Atelier
  • Snack
  • Outdoor Classroom & Enrichment
  • Afternoon Meeting
  • Lunch & Half-Day Departure
  • Rest Time
  • Story & Snack
  • Outdoor Play & Departure
Inclement Weather

The Children’s Learning Center will be closed or delayed for inclement weather when Mitchell College is closed or delayed.

Early Childhood Education at Mitchell College

Mitchell College, which offers a number of degree programs in Early Childhood Education, guides the program and college students are actively engaged in the Children’s Learning Center, bringing best practices, innovation and enthusiasm. To learn more about Mitchell College’s education program and degree options, visit mitchell.edu/academics-teaching-learning.


Classes for 2019/20 are now full, but we are accepting applications to our waitlist. Please call the school at 860-701-5348 to schedule a tour or for information on applying to the waitlist.

Schedule a Tour!

Contact us today to learn more or schedule a tour!
Phone: 860-701-5348

Designed for Children

Ages 3-5

2019/2020 Fees

Full Day Rate: $205 per week (8am-4pm)
Half Day Rate: $155 per week (8am-1pm)
$10 per week if not potty-trained
10% discount for more than one child
Other discounts & financial aid may be available

First Day of Class:

August 26

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.

Martina Bottinelli, MA | Director

Martina Bottinelli holds a Master of Arts in Education from Goddard College, where she focused her studies on experiential and self-directed learning. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College in 2010, and attended high school in Italy. Martina began her teaching career as a Pre-K teacher in Atlanta, Georgia, where she discovered her love of the Reggio Emilia approach. Martina returned to New England to pursue her Master’s degree, and founded a self-directed learning center for children of all ages right here in New London. Discovering the Children’s Learning Center at Mitchell College and returning to teaching in a Reggio-inspired program with a focus on nature-based learning was a dream come true. 

 Martina was honored to be offered the opportunity to guide the CLC as we grow as a center for Reggio-inspired and nature-based learning and teaching. She is joined in this adventure by our experienced and knowledgeable Master Teacher, Ashley Willis, and Preschool Teacher, Kelsey Bazinet.  

Phone: 860-701-5348 


Ashley Willis, MA | Master Teacher

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!

Phone: 860-701-7720


Kelsey Bazinet | Preschool Teacher

Kelsey Bazinet has always had a passion for working with children. She started her educational journey at Three Rivers Community College, where she studied Early Childhood Education and Human Development. She transferred to Mitchell College earning her B.S. in Early Childhood Studies. Kelsey is currently attending the Isabelle Farrington College of Education (Sacred Heart University) for her Master of Arts in Education. 

Kelsey is a charismatic and dependable teacher with many years of experience delivering educational assistance and instruction to various levels of learners. She has worked in both public and private school settings. At Mitchell College, she earned the Early Childhood Education Award and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Kelsey has always believed that children learn from their surroundings and the models in their environment.

Embracing the Reggio Emilia philosophy has given Kelsey a different perspective on teaching and the way that children learn. It has allowed her to teach children through nature and play. She sees children as investigators, especially when they have access to the wonderful resources at Mitchell College’s Children’s Learning Center and the southeast shoreline.

When Kelsey is not teaching, she can be found in her garden or with her family. She enjoys DIY projects and crafting on her Cricut. She has two children and a niece and nephew who she adores. She also loves animals and has many.

Phone: 860-701-5348

“My passion is to provide young children with a nurturing, enriching, creative, and playful environment.” -Martina Bottinelli, Director

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


By asking questions we discover the children’s ideas, hypotheses, and theories.

“I believe in listening to children’s interests and ideas as well as turning natural moments into teaching experiences.” -Ashley Willis, Master Teacher

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.

You have Successfully Subscribed!