Hot Springs Community Learning Center

Hot Springs Community Learning Center

Growing Our Community From The Seed

 

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A nonprofit organization in Hot Springs, NC offering quality childcare, nutrition, and educational support


Hot Springs Community Learning Center
356 NW Hwy 25/70
Hot Springs, NC 28743  

Mission​

To serve the community of Hot Springs and the surrounding areas by providing quality services and support for the educational, nutritional, and child care needs of the 3 to 12 year old children with a professional paid staff and qualified volunteer community members in a safe, inspirational environment that supports a meaningful childhood.

About

Established: May 2008
To address the great needs in this community for child care, nutrition, and education support, AND to have it actually be affordable, HSCLC created a non-profit organization that provides high quality Preschool, After School, and Summer Programs to area children ages 3 - 12. We work with each family individually to assess and address the funding of their childcare needs. We are committed to creating a reasonable plan for every family that would like to participate in our programs through a creative community supportive initiative.

This project so far has served over 100 families and is seeded for continual growth. We are a young organization seeking the support of its community. It is our goal to become 100% internally funded so that all families who want and need our services may participate regardless of their income status. Please help us build our foundation and consider being a part of providing this quality Community Learning Center program of services to our areas youngest residents.

Curriculum

Our professional staff are all state qualified early childhood teachers, constantly pursuing higher education in the fields of Early Childhood, School Age Care, Elementary Education, and beyond. The curriculum at Hot Springs Community Learning Center is designed by the staff using approved developmentally appropriate practices. We come together each month to design fresh, creative group projects based on a central monthly theme that looks to build character and strengthen academic skills focusing on the five learning domains: language, cognition, aesthetic, physical, and social/emotional.

Theories & Guidelines

Sources

Further Direct Resources

TYC Magazine

 

Current college level textbooks from AB-Tech Early Childhood Associate Program and Western Carolina University Birth—Kindergarten Bachelor of Science Program / Early Childhood & Elementary Education.​​

The Environment

 

Outdoors

The Playground and Garden area are safe, fun, AND beautiful with the children engaged in outdoor games, the sandbox, climbing wall, tree house, stage, web-dome climber, trikes and bikes, willow tunnel, bug hotel, all kinds of balls, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, jump ropes and more!

Indoors

Our indoor activity centers are professionally designed by our teaching staff. To continually engage your child's curiosity, and to allow them to practice skills, nurturing both individual and social development, we explore interesting themes each month and reflect those explorations in our Activity Centers. In addition, we feature a unique 'Pretend Area' program that completely breaks down and re-builds with each theme. In the Pretend Center, the children are active participants in the design and creation of this area along with staff.

We believe that it truly does take the entire village to raise a child. Graciously, our community is there for us in so many ways with special visits for book reading, projects, and songs. Community Visitors are infused on the average of about 1 per week. They bring their expertise to the learning environment and make themselves available to the children in the spirit of community building. We are truly blessed at HSCLC by our loving friends and neighbors.

We have three focus days during the week:

  • Tuesday is our story stretcher day

  • Wednesday is our music & movement day

  • Thursday is our science experiment day.

  • Mondays and fridays are reserved for field trips, community visitors, and finishing projects form the other days.

Our Art Program

HSCLC students explore a variety of hand crafts including clay sculpture, classic painting, sketching and drawing, paper making, studying the great artists, and development of creativity. Students can do art everyday using the materials in the Art Center, then we do a very special art project each week as a group. We have art shows form time to time to display our creations and to practice our skills at throwing a party! This is a very important part of the process!

Our Music and Movement Program

Performing and Visual arts such as singing, playing instruments, and movement are a BIG things with HSCLC students and staff. Lead by the exceptionally talented Ms. Lisa Mandle, students explore concepts from dance to learning to play instruments, to martial arts and Yoga, to song writing, and everything in between.

Our Science Program

Our Science days are mighty exciting! We have tackled topics form electricity to chemistry to catapults and of course the ever popular "explosions". Staff are knowledgeable in science topics and provide some incredible background for students through hands-ON experiences. This is also a great social time as well with students partnering up for many of the activities.

Seasonal Themes
  • August: orientation

  • September : community connections & …

  • October : appalachian heritage & …

  • November : gratitude & …

  • December : celebrations & …

  • January : imagination & …

  • February : love , outer space & …

  • March: transportation & …

  • April: green practices & …

  • May: our amazing bodies & …

Holidays and Celebrations

We explore and celebrate a wide variety of holidays throughout the year together. Since our goal is to get to know who our community is, we will look to learn how we can celebrate in all our ways!

We celebrate each students and staff member’s birthdays with homemade cupcakes, singing, and birthday wishes!

 

When children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.

--Maria Montessori

Holidays and Celebrations

We explore and celebrate a wide variety of holidays throughout the year together. Since our goal is to get to know who our community is, we will look to learn how we can celebrate in all our ways!

We celebrate each students and staff member’s birthdays with homemade cupcakes, singing, and birthday wishes!

Monthly Themes

We select monthly themes at the beginning of the school year. Then staff come together each month to design the angles we will take based on the actual children in our groups. Each week, the Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and After School Program teams meet to design fresh activities with drama, music, art, movement, and cognition with math and science experiments. This makes for a lively atmosphere full of stimulating learning experiences for our amazing students!

September - Community Connections
During this month as the children become acquainted with the Learning Center we provide all kinds of exposure to the concept of community. Starting with themselves, then moving into their families, their friends, and their neighbors. It is a wonderful time to get to know one another and learn the basic structures of life at HSCLC.

October - Appalachian Heritage
As October brings in the last of the summer harvest and the first of the brilliant color show of the trees, we have found it to be a perfect time to dive into our Appalachian Heritage exploring the rivers, the mountains, the fauna and flora, and the unique world of the mountain arts in music, storytelling, hand crafts, and dance. Such area enthusiasts as story teller Sheila K. Adams, singer/song writer Joe Penland, musicians Mikey, Corey & Charlie, puppeteers from Mountain Marionettes, river guides Paul DeLisle and Wayne Crosby, flat-foot dancer Sarah Owen, and more have spent some time with us here, sharing their first-hand knowledge, talent, and skills.

November - Gratitude & Values
As holidays approach we re-visit the concepts of gratitude and values. Through literature, role play, and art we submerse the children in the world of respectfulness, giving them lots of opportunities to practice reciprocating give and take. Staff guide children towards achieving balance in the hopes of providing more meaning to such holidays where they may receive or give gifts. With practice our students can join in family gatherings ready to contribute in positive ways.
Dear friends Sally Lassiter and Pete Nagle have shared a trades with us: we pick up the walnuts in their yard and then they give us a lesson. Sally set up a beautiful outdoor tea party complete with 'crumpets' and warm apple cider served on a real tea set. Pete gave our After School kids a lesson on how to set a table - the fancy way! What a fine experience in give and take in our community.

December - Celebrations
In preschool and TK we explode the concept of celebrating in general, whereas After School Program will take it to the next level and look at how other world cultures celebrate. Through music, food, art, and dance we will broaden our horizons and express some big time JOY together. Kids are naturals at this of course, but we take this opportunity to look at meaning and ritual in a whole new light. This month we host our Annual Winter Holiday Gathering. The children make a craft of some sort to sell along with the goodies such as paper bells, painted tea lights, or cardboard baskets. It's a beautiful celebration of crafts and food!

January : Imagination (Preschool & TK) & Diversity (After School Program)
This month our programs take two different routes: Preschool & TK get into their imaginations through puppetry, magic, and fantasy, and After school Program breaks it down with diversity creating ultimate societies and ideals for living. Both require the use of the imagination, however ASP develops their ideas into handiwork and see how far they can take it.
The Pretend area in preschool turns into something magical where all the fairy tales come to life! Community visitors, Brian and Raven Newsom, have come and taught fencing lesson that provides all the fair rules of engagement. The kids love it!

February - Love & Outer Space
This one is a favorite among the staff and is quite memorable to our past students. We take two seemingly unrelated themes and through our exploration find all kinds of ways that they are similar! Hhhmmm… It’s a cosmic blast sweetened up with homemade valentines, pet love stories, and the famous ‘Who’s that baby?’ game. Students travel the skies in their hand crafted rocket ships, identifying stars, planets, moons, and such. A wonderful, middle of the winter surprisingly warm experience.

​March - Transportation
There are so many, many ways to get from here to there. This month we get everyone thinking about
their feet, wheels, wings, and all kinds of movement forms. We like to observe the tread from the trikes and prints that our shoes make. We play with the concepts of flight through zip lining our tiny guys from the climber. And we get into water travel creating various floatation devices. Needless to say, this theme gets us outdoors and is a very welcome theme after winter!

​April - Green, Green Spring
Especially in the spring, we love to reawaken ourselves to taking care of the earth through recycling and sustainable living. Spring just bursts with exploration activities and outdoor projects that have us out and about doing trash walks, upcycling, and service projects. We are also out in the Children’s Garden designing and planting, getting ready for the coming months where we will harvest berries, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and cut flowers. This is also the month of the Annual Hot Springs Community Trailfest where we welcome AT Hikers into the community and take some time to get to know these world travelers.

May - Our Amazing Bodies
For the great Grande finale we explore and revel in all the amazing things a body can do! We look at the systems, notice our own growth from the beginning of the year until now, and we plan out our (famous) Annual Closing Ceremony Obstacle Course. The students transform the yard into a course that highlights their skills in trike riding, climbing, balancing, jumping, flipping, plus composting and recycling. It’s a wonderful time to reflect, celebrate, and bid farewell until next season.

Licensing & Subsity

We have earned state licensure which allows us to qualify for the receipt of partial payments for tuition with subsidy funds from the NC Department of Health and Human Services for families in need whose parents are either working or going to school full time. This process is set with industry standards holding centers to state licensing rules and regulations, staff licensure and continued education, and the maintenance of high quality materials and a stimulating environment.

We are also a qualified NC PreK site which allows students who are four years old and attending kindergarten the following year to a 90% schoalrship for a full time slot. Currently, there are 10 slots each new school year alotted to HSCLC for qualifying families.

Currently, HSCLC has complied and earned a five star rating in the Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, After School and Summer Camp Programs.

Scholarship Program

Currently, Parent Fees make up just under 50% of the funding for our programs. Our goal is to eventually be able to provide 90% scholarship to all those in need in exchange for task and Center maitnenace services. In that endeavor, we have created the Task Credit Program where community members, area churches, and businesses contribute a certain amount each month. HSCLC also participates in this program, contributing over $2000 dollars each month through donations, grants, and community type fund-raising events where all our families participate. The way HSCLC disperses these funds is through a Task Credit schedule. All the tasks have a dollar value and (as performed) are credited on tuition statements to the participating families in need. These credits help make tuition more affordable while saving the Learning Center from paying for cleaning and maintenance services.

Budget & Quality Food

As we are a non-profit organization we are able to utilize Manna Food Bank to purchase much of our supplies and foods. This allows us to keep our food and supply costs down. Also, during our Summer Program we harvest fresh produce and herbs from our Children's Garden on site. Plus, several of our local (organic) farms donate CSA boxes that provide the best produce there is! We make delicious, nutritious snacks everyday with (organic when possible) dairy products, whole grains, and fresh (local when available) produce.

Utilizing Our Elders

We are governed by a Board of Directors who are advised by a 15 person Advisory Board made up of retired teachers, principals, parents, clergymen, and businesspersons from a wide variety of relevant fields.

Also, as we are located in the same county owned building as the Senior Citizens Club of Hot Springs, we do a variety of activities together such as holiday singing, letter writing, story-telling, and craft projects.