The Morgridge College of Education (MCE) is devoted to improving outcomes for young children with special needs, their families, and those who serve them. The Fisher Early Learning Center (Fisher), an infant through pre-K educational facility under the MCE umbrella, embodies this commitment by providing an unrivaled inclusive early childhood experience for the Denver community where children with special needs are educated alongside their typically-developing peers. The combined impact of both Fisher and MCE in this space is strengthened by a unique, reciprocal relationship that demonstrates how higher education can meet the needs of our community while also training the next generation of professionals and validating cutting-edge research and evidence-based programming.
Over the past year, Fisher implemented the Connect4Learning (C4L) curriculum, developed by MCE’s Marsico Institute co-directors, Drs. Doug Clements and Julie Sarama, in its classrooms. C4L was developed through funding from the National Science Foundation and weaves together mathematics, science, literacy, and social-emotional learning. For Fisher, already accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the new evidence-based curriculum has been a hit with students and families alike.
“Parents love C4L,” said Hema Visweswaraiah, director of Fisher. “The students are taking home key concepts from their learning and I think parents can see what we do each day and how important these skills are in their child’s education.”
According to Visweswaraiah, Fisher’s location on the University of Denver’s (DU) campus, across the street from MCE, offers unique opportunities for her own students and families, as well as to DU faculty, staff, alumni, and researchers.
“It is beneficial across the board – graduate students work with teachers and students to develop their professional skills, our teachers have the ability to further their education, and we get to partner with our institutes to access their resources and expert research,” she added. “One of our current teachers presented at a large early childhood conference in Denver and Fisher received very positive feedback from her presentation. I love how they are ambassadors of our work.”