learning and development for ages birth-6
S.E.E.K. Early Learning Center is a small school with big ambitions. Our early education specialists and teaching staff are highly qualified professionals who share S.E.E.K. Early Learning Center’s mission to make our community a better place through high quality, inclusive education.
S.E.E.K. Early Learning Center is a member of the S.E.E.K. Arizona family. Our association with S.E.E.K. Arizona gives us access to more resources than most schools, which enhances our students’ educational journeys. These resources include therapy animals, early education scholars, board certified behavior analysts (BCBA), counseling services, speech-language pathologists, and occupational and music therapists to name a few.
We believe all children are exceptional and Specializing in the Education of Exceptional Kids (S.E.E.K.) is our forte.
We are a Learning Center
We are not a daycare. We are an early education-learning center that is staffed by professionals who care. We challenge our students to learn. We push them to become better citizens. We provide them with the tools they need to succeed. If you share these values and would like to learn more, then we would love to give you a tour of our learning center.
We are voluntary participants in the Quality First program. This program is a result of a voter initiative to fund and improve early education in the State of Arizona. Participants in the Quality First program undergo regular evaluations in the following areas: health and safety practices, staff qualifications, teacher-child interactions, learning environments, lessons, group sizes, child assessment, and parent communication. The goal of the program is to provide or team with ongoing support and feedback that will make us an even better learning center.
We are Lifelong Learners
We not only believe in creating lifelong learners through our HighScope curriculum, our teachers are active learners, too. The S.E.E.K. Early Learning Center team is constantly training to better our craft and to stay on top of the latest educational research and trends. Along with in-service training days that are conducted by master’s-level trainers, S.E.E.K. Early Learning Center educators attend professional development courses and many continue to further their education at local universities. We’ve found that this organizational commitment to continuing education creates a strong educational environment.
S.E.E.K. Early Learning Center is driven by its child-centered core values. We are committed to:
Our teacher to student ratio (1:5 infant room / 1:6 toddler / and 1:9 preschool room) is in accordance with state standards and early education best practices. With low student to teacher ratios we are able to provide our students with individual attention, maximize safety benefits, and increase educational effectiveness.
Infant Room: 6 weeks – 12 months
Toddler Room: 12 months (and walking) to 3
Preschool Room: 3 (and potty trained) to 5 years old
S.E.E.K. Early Learning Center implements the HighScope educational approach to learning (HighScope.org). This research-based curriculum helps children develop through active participatory learning, which means our students learn by hands-on experiences that enable them to plan and explore many of their own activities.
Research shows that HighScope educated children have higher educational achievement, more confidence, and are better prepared to be lifelong learners than most of their non-HighScope peers. Furthermore, our students develop social skills that are often neglected in other curriculums. Parents are surprised when they see their young scholars working through complex problems creatively and resolving personal conflicts on their own. This holistic approach to education is a game changer for most families.
Additionally, our learning center incorporates sensory integration techniques with the HighScope curriculum. Sensory integration includes play activities that use textures, sounds, smells, tastes, brightness, and movement.
Jessica has worked in the Arizona health and human services sector since 1995, founding S.E.E.K. Arizona in 2003. She has a Master’s in Education from Arizona State University and is a licensed and board certified Behavior Analyst. In addition to overseeing the daily operations at S.E.E.K. Arizona and its developmental preschool, she enjoys providing support to the Early Learning Center classrooms with Mr. Patrick, the school’s therapy dog.
Sara, a native to Arizona, earned a Master’s degree in Childhood Studies from the University of Wales (United Kingdom), a Bachelor of Education from Arizona State University, and has several TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of different Languages) certifications from the American TESOL Institute. While in the United Arab Emirates, Mrs. Van Winkle taught Kindergarten at an international school, was an early education consultant for a group of investors, and served as the Director of Curriculum at a training company. She has also assessed preschools for Arizona’s Quality First Program, taught the HighScope curriculum at ASU’s Child Development Learning Lab, and was a police volunteer with the Phoenix Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit. Additionally, she has conducted research in childhood studies at a Reggio Emilia school in Sweden and within the Forest School Wales program. On her spare time, Mrs. Van Winkle likes to cook, outdoor activities, and spending time with her family.
Margaret relocated from Wisconsin in 2014 to join the S.E.E.K. Arizona administrative team, bringing with her several years of experience in the field of law. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Law and Justice Studies. In her spare time she enjoys playing outside with her dogs and enjoying the beautiful weather after finally thawing out from living in the frozen tundra for the past 15 years.
Front Office Assistant
Kelsie started with SEEK Arizona in 2013. She is the smiling face at the front desk at the ELC. When she’s not processing paperwork, answering phones, and assisting families with any questions that they may have, she’s usually entertaining the children with her fun stickers and bubble screensaver. Kelsie has attended ASU and is looking to continue her career in health and human services.
Mr. Patrick has been creating smiles and providing comfort to children at S.E.E.K. Arizona since 2007 when he received his therapy dog certification. In addition to teaching social and play skills, Mr. Patrick can be credited with motivating children to complete their projects, assisting with self-regulation, and increasing developing language. When he’s not supporting our students, he likes to spend his time visiting with our administrative team and assisting teachers with clean up after snack and lunch time.