Scribbles was co-founded by Mimi Lyons and Karen Schwinger. It began as a home-based program in 1984. Eight children and two teachers met weekly to explore the joy of movement, music and art. By 1985, Scribbles incorporated and established itself in the Community Church in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. It quickly grew into a nursery school serving over 100 students from an average of 12 different towns. It is a private, non-profit, non-sectarian school licensed by the State of New Jersey. It is located at 48A Briarcliff Road.
The accrediting body of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, The National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, sets professional standards for early education to assist families in identifying high quality programs. A copy of the criteria can be obtained from the NAEYC website at www.naeyc.org. Scribbles voluntarily and successfully pursued, achieved and maintained this accreditation for a period of eleven years. The most recent accreditation status began April 30, 2005 and continued through April 30, 2010.
We maintain high professional standards, surpassing state guidelines regarding teacher/child ratios, staff training, staff credentials, etc. The recognition we have received over the years, including our past accreditation and relationship with both the College of St. Elizabeth and William Paterson University, strengthens our commitment to excellence.
The College of St. Elizabeth recommends our school to their graduate students for field observation hours. We serve as a ”host“ school, enabling their students to observe in our classes as well as assist our teachers in classroom activities. Our collaboration with the college helps in ”preparing highly qualified teachers for our schools“. As part of their preschool through grade three certification program, William Paterson University requires that students observe a ”quality early childhood classroom“. Their early childhood faculty has identified our program as ”a good example“ of what they term ”best practice“. This has enabled us to have students from the University work in our school. We have also sponsored internships (field work) for students from Drew University. All this serves to enrich our school.
Our program is based on documented clinical classroom and laboratory research regarding how young children learn. We provide the foundation that must be in place in order to maximize development in the socio-emotional, language, cognitive, physical and aesthetic areas of learning. Despite the current pressures to make preschools more academic, we firmly believe that such pressures are inappropriate and do a disservice to the young child. They do not constitute sound practice in early childhood education as defined in the Position Statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC. 1986):
How young children learn should determine how teachers of young children teach. The degree to which both teaching strategies and the curriculum are developmentally appropriate is a major determinant of program quality.
Abilities flourish in an atmosphere that is stimulating and supportive, where the individuality of each child is recognized and respected. In keeping with our main goal of fostering self-esteem while promoting intellectual and physical development, we offer activities that are both age-appropriate and that allow for individual differences. By encouraging independence, self-expression and exploration, and by providing children with successful experiences, we believe that a child can develop a positive self-image. Each child is unique and has a right to develop at his or her own pace. Thus, our program focuses on specific needs, learning styles and interests. To this end, Scribbles also makes every effort to accommodate special needs students. We work in conjunction with child study teams, utilize additional personnel as needed in the classroom, make referrals as necessary and work with the parents to develop an individual education plan, (“I.E.P.”).
Our preschool curriculum outlines the goals and specific skills for each age group. Various themes for each month are reflected in the activities of the week. The daily schedule provides a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities and a balance of structured, teacher-directed and unstructured, free-choice activities. The “learning centers” available in each classroom include art, blocks, housekeeping, science, math, library, sand/water play, woodworking and manipulatives (puzzles and games). Music, movement, storytelling, puppetry, gross and fine motor activities, each play an important role in our daily program.
We develop multi-cultural awareness through the sharing of holiday customs, foods, literature and other educational materials that reflect diversity. While parent involvement is not a requirement, we do invite parent participation. A very high percentage of the parents have chosen to bring their time and talents to the school. This has provided a variety of enriching experiences for the children.