Maritime Odyssey Preschool is a national unique partnership between: Odyssey Early Learning, which is the lead educational provider; The Maritime Aquarium, which provides science-education content expertise; and Grace Baptist Church, which will host workshops for families on such topics as parent education and financial literacy.
Nearly 200 children from age 14 months to 5 years attend the school, which is a national model for early childhood STEM and for how a science institution like The Maritime Aquarium can play a leading role.
While The Maritime Aquarium is involved in the curricula of several area schools through its Whole School Partnerships (such as the one at Jefferson Science Magnet School), the new preschool is a step farther in integrating Aquarium programming into an entire school’s teachings. An Aquarium educator is assigned to the preschool full-time, and leads the development of a marine-themed STEM curriculum, trains preschool teachers, and works directly with students, both at the school and during their visits to the Aquarium.
The preschool’s focus is not just on the children. The families of all students receive a Maritime Aquarium Family Membership, which is good for free admission and IMAX® movies, and program discounts. In addition, the Aquarium is planning exclusive after-hours events for the preschool’s families.
The Rev. Dr. Lindsay E. Curtis said Grace Baptist Church’s goal is to enhance parental life-skills, thus enabling families to be better advocates in the education of their children. The congregation will offer workshops for parents on such topics as financial literacy, credit repair, writing resumes and other job skills, and basic reading skills for both English-speaking and non-English-speaking parents and guardians.
Maritime Odyssey Preschool welcomed its first students in early August 2016. It’s an all-day year-round school. Parents can enroll children for a weekday schedule of 8:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., or an extended day of 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Parents must commit to attend at least two parenting workshops at the school, in addition to the optional workshop opportunities offered by Grace Baptist Church. Tuition is based on a sliding scale.
Funding for the school comes from a $1.3 million school readiness grant from the state and a $479,000 Child Day Care program state grant.
Maritime Odyssey Preschool is in the Nathaniel Ely School building in South Norwalk, at 11 Ingalls Ave. For more details about the school, call (475) 215-6100.