By Richard Campbell
Ethos Early Learning Center held an open house event at their new West Broadway location on Saturday, January 20, and South Boston Online went to cover the new kids on the block. Shortly after starting the introductory tour of Ethos Childhood Learning Center with Founder / CEO Alejandro Dubovoy, and Program Director Aedeen Twomey, the level of planning and design that went into this enterprise started to dawn upon me. As we looked upon the small colorful street signs in the lobby that signaled to the various rooms with logos from New England nature appealing to children, it was soon realized each corresponded to rooms for particular age levels and various pedagogy. When Mr. Dubovoy read a brief poetic description of the important values to children who would occupy the Aster Plant / Infant Room, shaped like a star- it was not hard to see the genuine enthusiasm, and pride of these pioneers in this, their project for young children’s education.
In other words, the signs have special meaning that will become valued by the students and parents. Almost everything in this early learning program for the very young is part of a unique set of plans. From this beginning to the detailed description of the learning program, a hybrid Montessori / Reggio Emila / Steiner Method approach, it becomes apparent when Ms. Twomey says the program is uniquely planned; she’s not exaggerating. You may not perceive at first how critical design is, (visiting architect parents did) with the custom interior design from Rapt Studio in San Francisco. The real feeling inside these classrooms is of simplicity and beautiful light- a kind of transparency combined with articulated and intuitive spaces that invite calm or directed activities. The early learning program is in the final stages of state and city inspections and certifications, holding open houses for families with a tentative opening early 2018. There were about three waves of families when this reporter was in house.
One can easily imagine children loving the spaces for their thoughtful layouts and intelligent design, which then naturally was planned for a particular kind of childcare combined with early education. The classroom spaces preserved beautiful original wood floors, included ample storage spaces, learning spaces, and observational spots for parents that even without the children or instructors, it looks ready for the first class. From things like small transparent gates between sections that children would be able to navigate safely, various sized appliances, aquariums and toys, and custom modeled activities for each age group-right down to the tiny wooden ergonomically designed tables and chairs, there was a continuum of design influencing experience.
It was not until later when I thought about the various pedagogical details of the Ethos Learning program that it seemed a necessity for these educators to plan all these built in intricacies. Besides providing a safe environment and consistent education from infants and toddlers through an early learning program setting, the pedagogy more or less demanded that they have the space designed for each age group in a very particular manner. For those of us who aren’t parents, we tend to forget how vulnerable and delicate little children are, and just how important those initial years of discovery of the world are to them. Ethos checks all the boxes from sound security plans, in house kitchen and laundry, carefully designed cribs, and tiny furniture and toilet facilities that well exceed rigorous standards. With highly qualified professional classroom staff educated with at least a BA in child development, and assistants with experience in care giving or enrolled in higher education child development programs, the Ethos executive team comes to this project with a wealth of experience to create an exemplary learning center in South Boston. The program curriculum and philosophy is a researched based formulation that is proven to provide successful learning methods.
When the discussion turned to mindfulness and yoga that could be tailored by instructors to meet the daily schedules, and to the living room planned for parents to gather, this writer began to see the educational vision in complete. With a science program and their own community garden, my guess is that readers know the demographic who will thrive in this environment: active, educated, parents who love their children. Out of respect for visiting families, the photography includes Ethos Staff only. For more information on open houses and registration, CONTACT: E T H O S L E A R N . C O M