Young children are natural scientists. They’re curious, enthusiastic, and their minds are growing at a rapid rate.
The Del E. Webb Family Enrichment Center (FEC), an early learning center located at Yavapai College in Prescott, understands the importance of quality early childhood experiences and carefully prepares a hands-on learning environment with highly qualified teachers, that helps build a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning.
First Things First video: The Del E. Webb Family Enrichment Center
The FEC serves children ages 3 months to 5 years, and incorporates all learning standards into its program. Through a robust developmentally-appropriate curriculum, the center is making sure that children’s natural affinity for discovery is cultivated and strengthened.
And thanks to its location on Yavapai College campus, the program is able to take advantage of the college resources, including walking field trips to the science lab, sculpture garden, and the art museum.
The staff at FEC knows first-hand that children learn best when they actively explore and engage with the world around them.
Hands-on experiences build brain connections in young children, and since 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed before age five, the experiences young children have lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning.
The child-centered curriculum works with the children’s interests and developmental levels, rather than using a cookie-cutter approach, to ensure that each child’s individual needs are met.
In addition to these important brain connections, the children are also developing a love of learning for all subjects, including science and fine arts, putting them on a path to success for their future school years.
In a state where only one in five children are enrolled in a high quality early learning setting, FEC is helping to move the needle and prepare youth for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Their program is a good step toward the Arizona Education Progress Meter goal to increase that figure to 45 percent by the year 2030.
Beyond educating young students, FEC is a laboratory school that provides a setting for Yavapai College early childhood education students to develop the skills and competencies necessary for careers with young children. It’s a valuable real-world experience for these aspiring educators.
FEC is currently serving more than 70 local children, many of who come from low-income families and are attending with scholarships thanks to First Things First and other groups and individuals in the Prescott community. There are more than 100 on a waiting list to enroll in the program.
It’s no surprise, since the center is nationally accredited, with small group sizes and low ratios, and has earned a coveted 5-star rating from the Quality First program, exceeding standards in safety and administrative practices, emotional and instructional support, and family involvement.