My name is Nicole Patenaude and I have been in the field of early care and education for over 20 years. My journey in this field has been multifaceted and an adventure that continues to shape who I am today as a teacher and a parent. I have a bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Early Care and Education. I have worked in center based care programs, I have owned a family childcare program, and I continue to teach adult education classes for early care and education professionals across the state of Maine. This is my second year at PCS, and I am feeling so blessed to be working in an environment of dedicated and passionate educators and nurturers.
Outside of my professional life, I have 3 amazing children, ages 7, 9, and 13 that are the lights of my life. My wonderful husband, Doug, is very involved in the sports programs through Poland Rec, and he continues to be the strong hold for all that I do. As a family we enjoy lots of outdoor activities and spending time with our extended family and friends.
The gift of my family and the families I have worked with over the years is what makes me so passionate about working in this challenging and rewarding field.
The Power of Play
The PCS Pre-K program is a balance of play based, emergent curriculum themes that target learning and development in an integrated and child centered approach that honors the uniqueness that each child brings to our learning community.
By honoring play as a guiding force in young children's learning and development, we acknowledge that play fosters all aspects of development: Social, emotional, intellectual, language and communication, and physical. Play offers children the opportunity to practice perspective taking and explore the wonderful world of friendships. Play allows children to share their insights and understanding of the world in which they live. Play gives children opportunities to reflect themselves and their understandings in an open ended and comprehensive forum that is truly unique to that of the young mind.
Through emergent curriculum themes, the child guides us as educators as to what they are ready to learn. We share in this learning process by supporting the child's innate curiosity and by providing materials, time and learning experiences to support areas of growth and learning.
When we follow children's play and inquiry, we learn how best to support children's learning and development and plan authentic learning experiences that inspire creativity, curiosity, and joy in learning.
Maine Early Learning and Development Standards
Our Pre-k program standards are developed around the Maine Early Learning and Development Standards. The MELDS reflects current research on early learning and best practice in early education.
The organization of The Maine Early Learning and Development Standards is designed with eight domains: Personal and Social Development, Approaches to Learning, Creative Arts, Early Language and Literacy, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Within each domain there are one or more domain elements, such as Numbers and Number Sense, Shape and Size, Mathematical Decision-Making and Patterns within the Mathematics domain. Indicators what children should know and be able to do when they enter kindergarten are the next level.
The MELDS is inclusive of children on the developmental continuum including those with special needs as well as those children who are learning English as a second language.
The experiences children have between birth and age eight shape the developing brain’s architecture and directly influence later life outcomes, including economic stability, work productivity, and mental health. Positive early childhood experiences improve developmental and school readiness outcomes, increase K–12 achievement, and contribute to higher rates of high school graduation. Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards supports the work of early childhood educators, families, and community members in creating supportive, learning-rich environments for all young children in Maine.
Early childhood educators with skills and knowledge can support children’s early language and social development through trusting relationships as well as engaging activities, thus buffering risk and supporting children’s readiness for school. For example, the amount and kind of language a child hears from birth impacts his/her ability to learn to read and read to learn. If a child comes to preschool with little experience with books or language, the preschool environment must focus on this critical area of development in very intentional ways.
All children can learn and learning is rooted in strong relationships. Families are early childhood educators’ strongest partners. The principles supporting Maine’s Early Childhood Learning and Development Standards reflects a view a child’s development as being within the context of the system of relationships that form within his/ her environment. This approach depends upon high levels of communication and collaboration among family, school and community partners to create the nurturing and engaging experiences children need in order to grow and learn. The standards serve as a foundation in efforts to improve, align, and create continuity between and among early childhood programs and elementary schools.
Play, in concert with adult planning, guidance, support and follow-up, is also a vital experience in early development. Early learning environments should focus on planned, supported, and intentional play-based learning as a central feature of programming.
Maine DOE, Maine DHHS, MELDS, March 2015
The link below will take you to a full version copy of The Guidelines.
If you cannot access a link or would like a hard copy please contact:
Maine Department of Health and Human Services
11 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333
Fax: 207-287-5031 • TTY: 207-287-2000