Early Education Philosophy and Curriculum

The first five years of a child’s life are critical for an individual’s success in school and in life. Therefore, the IUCC Early Childhood Center (ECC) provides a loving, safe, secure environment and a creative, enriching curriculum in which young children can develop personal relationships with teachers and other children as they grow in their physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and moral development.

We believe in teaching the whole child through a developmentally appropriate, play-based curriculum that fosters children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. We believe all children are competent and capable learners and we strive to provide a rich environment to support their learning and development. Our experienced teachers assess each child individually and target areas for growth so each can reach his or her potential and be well prepared to enter kindergarten. We promote good health, self-awareness, self-worth, competence, resiliency, compassion for others, and a spirit of discovery and life-long learning.

We value families as children’s most important educators. The ECC staff and the families we serve have a common interest in their children’s welfare, and therefore, we seek an active partnership and collaboration with parents and families. We strive to maintain the highest level of trust and to take parents’ and guardians’ ideas and concerns seriously.

Every early childhood program operates within a community context. As a mission of the Irvine United Church of Christ, the ECC seeks to be responsive to the needs of our community. We seek to cooperate with agencies, programs, and professionals who share our concerns for children and families. Through our knowledge and expertise in early education, we advocate for the well-being of children everywhere.


The ECC offers developmentally appropriate programs for children from age 2 through 5, or the year prior to kindergarten eligibility. Three classrooms are available:

  • Toddler: Children 2 to 3 years of age
  • Preschooler: Children 3 to 4 years of age
  • Pre-kindergarten: Children 4 to 5 years of age

Early Education Curriculum

The ECC offers a balanced program of teacher-facilitated and child-initiated activities that respect for children’s natural curiosity and thirst for learning. In this way, children learn from each other, from the classroom environment, and from the teachers.

The ECC provides learning experiences and creative explorations in all areas of a child’s development:

  • social-emotional (sense of self, responsibility for self and others, pro-social behavior, self-regulation)
  • physical (gross and fine motor development)
  • cognitive (learning and problem solving, logical thinking, representational and symbolic thinking)
  • language and literacy (listening and speaking, reading and writing)
  • art, music, dance, math, science, language, and active outdoor play are offered through various activities and experiences.

Through daily interactions with one another and their teachers, children develop necessary cooperation, conflict management, self-esteem, self-respect, critical thinking, and independence. Through play, children learn, develop skills and interests, and thrive. Each day at the ECC, children engage in activities individually and in small and large groups based on learning objectives and goals planned for each of them that prepare them for school and life.

Child Guidance

The ECC seeks to work with the child to develop internal control of his/her behavior (self-discipline and self-regulation) within the normal bounds of a child’s developmental stage and maturity level. We want to encourage children to become creative, independent, and responsible human beings, which means making responsible choices and accepting the consequences of those choices. Teachers assist children to develop internal control and to make good choices through a well-designed, child appropriate environment and curriculum, logical classroom rules, positive reinforcement, and redirection.

Potty Training

The experienced ECC staff make potty training easy by supporting both parents and children. We help your child to learn to use the toilet when he or she is developmentally ready and interested in the process. We focus on positive reinforcement as we work closely with families during this time. We will do our best to support your at-home efforts.