About SPCC

Our Mission and Vision

The mission of SPCC is to provide the community an exceptional family centered school for early learning, inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia, that views children as agents of their learning experiences, with valuable ideas worthy of exploration. Through collaboration with families, partnerships in our local community, engaging in anti-bias education practices, explorations of art and nature, recognition of the importance of play, intentional interactions, and promotion of access to early childhood education, SPCC seeks to foster an enriching, supportive, environment facilitated by educated, experienced, and professional faculty that nurtures a child’s natural curiosity of the world.

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The mission statement was developed as a collaborative effort of SPCC’s entire faculty over the course of a year, and finalized in 2016. Each faculty member’s perspective was used in constructing this mission statement to reflect our philosophies, values, current practices and vision of our school. We synthesized our collective visions to develop a mission statement reflective of the unique and wonderful place our school is; and meaningful to each of us in our work. 

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Our Values

Our values of nature-based inquiry; art as a form of meaningful expression; Reggio Emilia-Inspired practices; inclusion; anti-bias education; child-directed learning; the importance of play; social justice; advocacy for families, children and early childhood educators; making meaningful contributions to our community; and promoting access to early childhood education are reflected in our policies, practices and woven into our many explorations.  

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Our Philosophy 

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SPCC provides developmentally appropriate learning experiences and care, in a safe, nurturing, engaging, and interactive environment. The environment and provocations  of teachers foster positive growth and development. Teachers collaborate with parents to create an inclusive atmosphere, develop strong  relationships with families, creating a community of advocates for families, children, early childhood learning, and early childhood educators.

 The classroom environments we offer help to build a strong self-concept through positive interactions, and encouraging individuality. Teachers offer learning experiences that challenge young minds, as well as set them up with opportunities for success. Respect for one’s self and others is a core value at SPCC, and we celebrate individuality of all persons regardless of age, gender identity, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, family structure, sexual orientation or religion.

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Our school uses a family-centered approach, research shows resoundingly how addressing the family system holistically is exponentially beneficial for the child. We are a resource for families and welcome families to collaborate with us through any challenges they are facing. We see ourselves as collaborators and partners with each family we work with. 

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Exceptionally High Standards

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St. Paul’s Childhood Center is not a “daycare.” Please do not be offeneded if we correct you, if you use this term to describe us. We are a school, established over 46 years ago, with a faculty of educated professionals who implement curriculum, use developmentally appropriate best practices  and are intentional in all their actions with children. 

SPCC teachers are experienced professionals passionate about the field of early childhood education. We refer to our teachers and staff as “faculty” to reflect their professionalism, expertise and education. SPCC faculty are leaders in the field of early childhood education. 

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SPCC uses the Parent Aware approved, researched-based HighScope curriculum and the COR Advantage Assessment tool. As a school inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach; our teachers embrace an emergent curriculum philosophy. Teachers are intentional about documenting children as they play and communicate, taking note of the children's current interests and constructing  learning experiences emerging from these interests.  Teachers collaborate with children and families,  investigating, learning, and exploring together. Teachers design and implement curriculum infused with art in order to help build confident learners through self-discovery  develop social/emotional skills through learning to express one’s self in many positive ways,  develop cognitive learning and problem solving skills through the abstract thinking processes stimulated during arts intensive projects. Our teachers also value early literacy, exposure to a wide variety of music, and languages using anti-bias curriculum and role modeling. A rotation of enrichment programs are offered and may include: Yoga, Health and Wellness Programming, Music, Gardening, Spanish, and Little Artists. Parent-teacher conferences are held bi-annually, or more often upon request. We practice anti-bias education and are an inclusive community. 

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Communication to Families

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Parent communication and involvement are an integral part of our program. We encourage parents to be active and participate in our program and use parent feedback as a tool for growth and development. Teachers use a variety of methods to communicate with parents; including: daily verbal communication, daily journals, emails, conferences, newsletters, website updates, and other social media. Each child has a secure online portfolio, which parents can access at any time. The school's administration is also dedicated to making connections with families and staying involved in classrooms. The school sends out weekly emails to parents,  occasional newsletters and holds school wide family events. We have a Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) consisting of a collaboration between teachers, administration and parents that meets the last Tuesday of each month for open forum discussions. PAC is open to all parents and parents who choose to participate are not obligated to come to any specified number of meetings. 

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Low Child to Teacher Ratios

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At SPCC we are dedicated to providing an engaging environment that is nurturing, fosters development and filled with meaningful experiences for young children. In order to provide these things we strive to maintain teacher to child ratios that go above and beyond state requirements. We strive to keep our infant program (Bonsai Tree) at a ratio of 1:3, our young toddler program (Tumbleweeds) at a 1:4 and our older toddler/emerging preschool program (Waterfall Room) at a 1:6 as often as possible. In our young preschool class (Willow Woods) and in our pre-k program (Reflection Grove) a 1:9 as often as possible. 

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Qualities Unique to SPCC

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Our school is unique in many ways, a visit to the school will show you as soon as you walk through our doors this is a special place that stands our from other programs. One unique aspect of SPCC, is our amazing longevity; we have been open for over forty-six years. We have an extremely low teacher turnover, 54% of our faculty have been with us for three years or longer, 29% of our faculty have been at the center for ten years or longer. 64% of our faculty have four year degrees or higher, while 79% of our faculty hold a Master’s degree, Bachelor’s, A. A.  or Child Development Associate certification.  All faculty are trained in CPR and First Aid. Our school also offers all teachers many professional development experiences throughout the year to stay current with new standards of developmentally appropriate practices and research. We are a nationally accredited school (only 9% of early childhood education centers in the U.S. are accredited), four out of four star Parent Aware program, and our playground is certified as a Nature Explore outdoor classroom (one of ten in MN). SPCC classrooms have been videoed for training use by a local university, SPCC has been featured in MnAEYC’s (Minnesota Association of Early Childhood Education) publication in recognition of our accomplishments, and in 2016 named St. Paul Magazine’s Best Preschool/Early Childhood Center in St. Paul. 

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We have spacious classrooms,  with natural light shining in from large windows. We also have a superb large muscle area that is referred to as the "Great Hall," so that through rain or freezing temperatures our children always have an opportunity to run, jump, climb and explore beyond the boundaries of their classroom. We have a beautiful playground facing historic Summit Avenue including a whimsical playhouse,  a child-oriented gardening project, a butterfly garden, stage, and outdoor music and art stations. Our location, in the heart of the Grand Avenue business district allows for classes to take scenic walks to nearby parks, go on walking field trips to places like the Stepping Stone Theater, or visit the Grand Ol’ Creamery for an ice cream cone in the summer!

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Perhaps the most unique and most well regarded quality SPCC offers a family, is the strong sense of community that families feel once they become a part of this school. Many families have returned with their second and third children, to find the comfort of the same teachers; strengthening bonds and giving families an overwhelming sense of security. Families build close connections amongst each other as their children reach milestones together and move from classroom to classroom together. The teachers at SPCC are without question the reason why families come back, the cultivators of the community that is fostered here, and the reason that this school has thrived for over forty-five years.  SPCC attracts individuals that are unique, creative, and inspiring. In order to maintain a position on our faculty, faculty members must rise to meet the expectations and standards we hold for early childhood educators, embrace our philosophies in their practices and reflect joy in working with children, through meaningful interactions. The educators here refuse to simply see this field as    “daycare” but view their contributions as having a profound affect on children’s lives, society, families, the educational system and the future. 

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“While we try to teach our children all about life,

Our children teach us what life is all about.”  ~Angela Schwind

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