Early Start to Education Proves Effective | NBC Connecticut
Making The Grade

Making The Grade

Early Start to Education Proves Effective



    Classrooms bursting at the seams

    There are now more choices than ever when it comes to your child's education. You can go private, public or consider a charter or magnet school.

    The Capitol Region Education Council, or CREC, is finding great success in a program that brings children together starting at age 3.

    "They have a lot of opportunities to express themselves,” teacher Diane Sydne said, regarding a classroom of 4-year-olds in the Reggio Magnet School of the Arts.

    The program starts at age 3 and goes to second grade, but the school plans to eventually expand to fifth grade.

    "Our school is based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy that started in Italy. So, we start with the children's interests and develop from there," Sydne said.

    Reggio is one of CREC’s five early childhood and elementary schools in the Hartford area.

    Principal Josephine Di Pietro Smith said children gain entrance through a lottery.

    "Our goal is really to occupy our schools with 50 percent of the students from urban areas and 50 percent of the students from suburban towns,” Di Pietro Smith said.

    Such diversity also deepens the educational experience for the students here.

    "I think that's just a very real life experience that some people don't really achieve until they're adults or they go away to college and they say, 'Oh, my goodness. People don't look like the people in my town,'” Sydney said.

    Just like any other school, Reggio follows the state standards, but does so in a different way.

    "In some schools, they start with the standards and they work their way down to the children.  We begin with the children,” Di Pietro Smith said.

    It seems to be working. In the two years the schools has been operating, the students have made high achievements.

    The principal said many first graders left kindergarten reading at a third grade level.

    "Really we are working to foster a critical thinking and analysis at a level that children don't always reach,” she said. 

    To learn more about CREC schools click here.