Eliza Corwin Frost Child Center of Christ Church (ECF) opened in October 1973 in Bronxville, NY with an enrollment of 16 children ranging in age from three months to three years. The center was established as a living memorial to Eliza Corwin Frost, the young daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Corwin Frost, Bronxville residents. Randy and Corwin Frost continue to be an integral part of the center and its surrounding community.
The concept of the Eliza Corwin Frost (ECF) grew out of informal "at home" playgroups, similar to the one in which Eliza participated as a two-year-old. In response to questionnaires sent to the Bronxville community, an enthusiastic group of parents and volunteers worked with Christ Church clergy and vestry to create an appropriate environment for very young children. The center was one of the first pre-nursery age programs of its kind. Nursery schools of that time began at age three and a half.
Interest and involvement from parents and the community were far greater than anticipated. In the ensuing 40 years there has been considerable growth and challenge. Nursery schools incorporated the ECF concept of educating younger children, and our center has stretched its age group upward to fours and fives.
Throughout the years, ECF has implemented many innovative and exciting enrichment programs, such as weekly music and movement, yoga, cooking, and "Handwriting Without Tears." Several years ago, we renovated and improved our outdoor play space. The school is fortunate to have both indoor and outdoor play areas where the children can practice their large motor skills on a daily basis, regardless of the weather.
Eliza Corwin Frost has a longstanding commitment to an emergent curriculum that builds on the curiosity and interests of children in the classroom. Since 2006, we have explored and experimented with the integration of the Reggio Emilia Approach into our program. In the Reggio Emilia Approach, children are granted an active role in guiding the direction of their learning experience. They are encouraged to explore their world through diverse mediums, and to collaborate with one another and their teachers on extended projects. One aspect of the Reggio Emilia Approach that we are very excited to implement is the documentation of the children's work in the classroom through a variety of formats, including newsletters, photographic hall displays, and video recordings. Children benefit from the opportunity to revisit their work, and appreciate in new ways the learning process in which they are the most vital participants. The documentation of children's work also builds community in the classroom, and increases communication between teachers and parents.