Program and Schedules

Like Sarah Lawrence College itself, the Early Childhood Center was founded on the ideals of progressive education. At both institutions, learning is driven by students' own interests and experiences, allowing them to develop both as individuals and as members of a community.

The ECC provides a comfortable, home-like setting. Its location on the Sarah Lawrence College campus allows for field trips to College facilities like the greenhouse, theatre, library, and sports center.

The curriculum emphasizes language and arts, and evolves according to the children's interests. Children work meaningfully with blocks, art materials, sand, and water. They have daily opportunities to work alone, in small groups, and as members of the group as a whole.

Class Structure

The Early Childhood Center provides a varied pattern of morning and afternoon classes. Younger children attend two or three half-days per week, and older children attend five times per week. Classes are in session from mid-September to mid-May, in accordance with the College calendar. A separate summer session is offered as well. Each class is taught by a lead teacher trained in early childhood education, a qualified assistant teacher, and several student assistants.

Lead teachers and the director are available to parents for conversation and consultation throughout the year. Our psychology consultant spends time in the classrooms as well, and is available to parents. Fall and spring conferences are formally scheduled, but teachers are available informally as well. It is vital that parents and teachers form a partnership, exchanging insights and experiences in relation to the individual child or to more general aspects of child development. Some member of each family (usually a parent) stays at the Center when the child first attends school, leaving gradually as parent and teacher decide the time has come for separation. There is no hard and fast rule about when it's the right time for a parent to leave. Teachers and parents work together to establish the timing.

Class Schedules

  • “Twos” Class and Parent Discussion Group Morning and Afternoon Classes
    9–11a.m. and 1–3 p.m.
    “Twos” and Parent Discussion Group builds gradually to two hours and requires a parent's attendance along with the child for the entire school year. The separation process is nurtured throughout the year for both parent and child. Siblings are not permitted.
  • “Threes” Morning Class
    9–11:30 a.m.
  • “Threes” Morning Classes
    9–11:30 a.m.
  • “Threes”/“Fours” Afternoon Class
    Monday through Friday
    1:15–4:10 p.m.
  • “Fours” Morning Class
    Monday through Friday
    9–11:55 a.m.
  • “Fours”/“Fives” Morning and Afternoon Classes
    Monday through Friday
    9–11:55 a.m. and 1–3:55 p.m.
  • “Fives”/“Sixes” Class
    Monday through Friday
    9 a.m.–2 p.m.
    The “Fives”/“Sixes” Class extends through the first week in June.

Please note: The Center serves as a laboratory school for Sarah Lawrence College students. Classes are in session from mid-September to mid-May, in accordance with the Sarah Lawrence College calendar. Consequently, we are closed during the College breaks.

Group of children

Why ECC?

“The Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence is a very special place where my children have learned in the true sense of learning. They have developed a strong sense of self, an understanding of what it truly means to respect and be respected, and an innate ability to learn by being curious about their world. The true testament to how wonderful this school is lies in the way my children speak about the time they spend there and the self esteem and sense of responsibility that has been nurtured in them. I feel very fortunate in knowing that my boys get to spend their days at the Early Childhood Center.”

–Bernadette Mannion, ECC Parent