Pathways Early Learning Center is an inclusionary childcare and preschool program offering a nurturing environment and high quality educational experiences for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years. Pathways Early Learning Center promotes child development in an inclusive environment that emphasizes growth in intellectual, physical, social, emotional, language, and adaptive skill domains. The program aims to ignite intellectual curiosity, facilitate language development, encourage behavioral regulation, teach cooperative social interaction skills, and foster the capacity to follow classroom routines and group instructions
To learn more, refer a child for services, or investigate career opportunities, please contact:
Early Childhood Coordinator
office: 207.798.3500 ext. 241
Pathways Early Learning Center (PELC) curriculum is guided by Maine’s Early Childhood Learning Guidelines; builds on children’s unique interests and natural curiosity through thematic-based learning units and draws from research-based programs including The Creative Curriculum and Handwriting without Tears. All learning experiences are aligned with Maine’s Early Childhood Learning Guidelines and presented within themed units that are guided by The Creative Curriculum and provide opportunities to address individualized learning goals and objectives. These learning goals and objectives are reinforced throughout the day through center-based activities, group projects, and circle time activities.
Centers within PELC include literacy, mathematics, science and exploration, creative play, dramatic play, blocks, art materials, and a sand/water table. Centers offer opportunities for active, creative exploration by building on children’s natural curiosity; enable children to utilize all their senses to acquire information, formulate hypotheses, and deepen their understanding of the world; and provide a context in which children are able to practice making choices, implementing their own ideas, interacting with peers (by turn taking, waiting, and sharing), and communicating through language. During center times, classroom teachers interact with children individually and/or in small groups to model positive social interactions, coach appropriate communication approaches, and reinforce previously taught skills and concepts.
Group projects and circle time gatherings offer more structured learning activities that encourage singing, language interaction, and fine and gross motor movements. Art projects may involve coloring, painting, and/or tearing and cutting paper; group activities based on the Handwriting without Tears “Get Set for School” program teach fine and gross motor skills, body awareness, crayon grasp, and letter and number recognition and formation; and circle time gatherings provide students with exposure to music, literature, language, letters, numbers, and other basic information about their world.
PRESCHOOL: Ages 2.5 Years to 5 Years
Pathways Early Learning Center’s preschool program is designed to enhance the learning and development of children ages 2.5 to 5 years old. PELC’s preschool program is a developmentally appropriate program targeting growth in the areas of cognitive (thinking and learning), communication (receptive, expressive, and social), physical (gross and fine motor), social and emotional (regulating self and interacting with others) and adaptive (self-care) skills. Our Preschool Program is structured learning environment where children learn to follow classroom routines and group instructions, play cooperatively (sharing and turn taking) and communicate effectively. Our curriculum centers on the development of the whole child and encourages each child the opportunity to grow, learn and develop skills at their own level of learning while building a foundation for life-long learning. Preschool is separated into two classrooms - click here for description of classrooms
TODDLER PROGRAM: Ages 16 months to 2.5 years
Pathways Early Learning Center’s Toddler program is designed to provide children ages 16 months to 2.5 years with an opportunity to explore and discover the world around them. Children are introduced to a daily schedule and practice following simple directions that incrementally increase independence (sit at circle, listen to stories, sit at the table, create masterpieces, turn taking and sharing, ect.) self-esteem and self-competence; while also maintaining embedded learning and pretend play which are important for social, emotional and physical development. Toddlers are provided opportunities to grow and develop strong and healthy bodies through gross motor activities such as skipping, jumping, climbing and running and through outdoor experiences. PELC encourages growth in language and communication by exploring sounds, sharing and exploring books, songs and fingerplays (with predictable and repetitive language) and through modeling a multitude of language opportunities. Children in the toddler program also explore a multitude of materials such as crayons, playdoh, paint, and stickers and are encouraged to create artwork to be shared in the classroom and to take home. Our toddler program focuses on independent play, small group and large group activities while giving toddlers the room to explore, create and grow through play and learning experiences.
INFANT PROGRAM: Ages 6 Weeks to 16 Months
Pathways Early Learning Center’s Infant program is designed to provide children ages 6 weeks to 16 months a nurturing, safe, clean and enriching environment to grow and develop into well adjusted, healthy human beings. PELC’s infant program provides daily routines and developmentally appropriate activities as opportunities for infants to build experiences with their world around them and reach their maximum potential. Infants spend less time sleeping and over time increase periods of time awake. Infants are provided with a communication rich environment to support early reciprocal exchanges geared towards infant-focused conversation using gestures, words, sounds and expressions for communication. Caregivers respond promptly and consistently to the needs of each child; supporting and meeting their individual needs to build trust from the moment an infant starts in the program. Infants experience the world around them through their senses. With an emphasis on providing a clean and safe environment; infants are provided the opportunity to mouth objects, talk, sing, hold and feel objects around them. Infants are encouraged to change positions frequently; spending time on their back, bellies (tummy time,) in swings, jumpers and on the floor. An Infants physical development changes rapidly in their first year; children learn to control their bodies (from reflexive movement to voluntary and purposeful) and develop core growth (from head to toe and from the middle of their body out to their arms, legs and feet.)
PELC's Inclusion Practices
At Pathways Early Learning Center, all children are welcome and valued. PELC provides a continuum of services and flexibly adapts the curriculum and environment to meet individual learning needs because we believe that inclusive early childhood programs benefit all learners. Typically developing children learn to accept and celebrate diversity; children with developmental delays benefit from peer language and social models; and children with emotional/behavioral challenges gain access to peers with whom to practice problem-solving and interpersonal skills.
PELC's team is comprised of Certified Special Education Teachers and Educational Technicians who receive additional training in the field of behavioral health care. For example, our educational professionals possess a working knowledge of child and family development, applied behavior analysis, and trauma/mental health challenges. This unique combination of educational and behavioral health care training imparts our educational professionals with the skills and knowledge to implement effective positive behavior support strategies and modify instructional and assessment procedures as needed so that all children are able to access the preschool curriculum.
Regardless of ability level, children within the PELC inclusive program are provided the opportunity to practice social, emotional, language, and motor skills in the context of independent center-based activities, outdoor play, and structured group activities. These varied classroom activities afford opportunities for children to acquire intellectual, physical, social, emotional, language, and adaptive skills while establishing the level of familiarity with classroom routines that is necessary for a successful transition into elementary school.
Children with disabilities are accepted into PELC upon referral from Child Development Services, and typically developing children are placed in the program by parents who are employed by Pathways of Maine and local businesses. The nature and intensity of service provided to children with disabilities is defined by Individualized Education Program (IEPs), and PELC assigns children to teams accordingly. Specially designed instruction and/or Specialized Rehabilitative and Community Support (RCS) services are provided, as needed, by professionals dually certified as Educational Technicians and Behavioral Health Professionalis at 1:1 or small group ratios in order to support children's active participation in the general classroom environment. Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and/or Physical Therapy also may be offered within the classroom environment day to promote skill development in all areas of need. Finally, the physical classroom environment is structured to ensure accessibility for all children. For example, visual activity schedules are posted for all children to view, a variety of adaptive writing utensils and scissors are available for use, and learning materials such as puzzles are available for a wide array of skill levels.