First Steps building lifelong learners

Published 4:02 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Steps is more than daycare.

As the name states, it’s the place a child takes his or her first steps on a lifelong journey of learning.

“It is more than childcare. It is the building blocks of education,” said director Lisa Nimmer.

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At First Steps Early Childhood Development Center, pre-K students, ranging from infants to four year olds, receive instruction in Spanish, art, science, social science and pre-literacy.

Cynthia Smith, a teacher at First Steps, said the children usually arrive to toys on the table to build motor skills. They also have magazines to cut out, Play-Doh and blocks to play with and have coloring activities.

After a healthy breakfast, the students go into circle time where this week the theme was “Wacky Week.”

Smith said the youngsters did things like wear silly hats, talk silly, rhyme words, make funny faces, share funny stuffed animals and sing.

The children also have lunch, a nap, a snack and playtime.

“I think they learn from each other. They learn their social skills and how to play. And that’s what we’re actually tying to teach them – how to play with each other,” Smith said.

She said feelings are also important such as understanding how another person feels when they are hurt.

“I feel that I try to instill in them some of the good values in life. So they can go out into the world and be good people,” she said.

Smith has taught children for more than 25 years and once had her own daycare.

When asked their favorite things about First Steps, Anderson Garner and Addison Rose Phillips said, “playing.”

Madison Hurley, however, liked to count, which she did up to 10 and then led a whole group of youngsters in counting up to 15.

Emma Kate Phillips said the letter “S” started the word snake and zebra, which she then realized, was actually “Z.”

First Steps campus is equipped with four playgrounds, including one designed for infants and toddlers. The rooms are equipped with hands on learning tools and play areas. And the gym is stocked with tricycles, balls, hula-hoops and more. There is also a Barbara Bush Library.