In 2023, The Edmund Hmieleski Early Childhood Center has began its fifteenth year of operation at this location. The school has 27 classrooms divided into 18 dual language classes and 7 general education classrooms with inclusion students and two classrooms with special education students.
The Creative Curriculum is the core framework of our early childhood program. This framework rests upon research-based, brain theory and developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Our approach involves teachers and families as critical partners in the important work of helping children grow and develop. Attention is given to four developmental areas of learning: social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. Each classroom has interest areas (dramatic play, blocks, art) and a range of supportive materials to provide hands-on opportunities for learning and teaching the whole child.
Each child is assessed through Teaching Strategies Gold Developmental Rating as mandated by the Department of Education. There are national standards within this assessment that help staff measure the growth and development of each child individually, which are shared with elementary schools when children leave the program.
The data gathered throughout the previous year signaled academic success for the 400 children. One of the two state assessments known as TPOT (Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool) used to measure teaching practices and behavior support services in classrooms was rated 96% in key practices for the 2022-2023 school year. This score puts the school in a highly effective category within the state. The second state assessment, the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-3, had an overall 6.63 out of 7 for the Hmieleski Early Childhood Center, which indicated an excellent review of high quality classrooms at the school and within the State of New Jersey.
Hmieleski staff invites parents into the classroom for instructional activities throughout the school year. In October, we pick pumpkins and celebrate an Octoberfest with parents, staff, and children using the school’s garden. In December, parents visit the school for book fairs and reading strategies workshops and each wing conducts a winter sing along performance. During the month of February, we celebrate Valentine's Day and it is combined with the school hosting a spaghetti dinner for parents and children. April is celebrated as Young Children Month and a whole week is donated to doing a variety of activities with our young scholars. The parents attend the student performances of the spring sing along in May. In June, the end of the year activities along with transition to kindergarten plans are in effect.
There are many additional highlights that occur each school year. Scores of opportunities for parents to visit their children and participate with literacy and math activities as part of our “end of study investigations” program are an important component to the success of the program.