Early Learning



Based in our main facility is a licensed childcare center that provides services to both families residing in Florence Crittenton’s residential programs and the Helena community. Our center offers the highest level of nurturing care for infants and toddlers aged 0-2. Our team of early childhood experts provide a developmentally appropriate and rich environment to stimulate and nurture growth and development across all areas.

The Child Enrichment Center is a part of the STARS to Quality program- a continuous quality improvement program for early childhood education in Montana.


Florence Crittenton’s Preschool is a licensed early intervention program that serves children ages 2 to 4. Our program offers children and families a playful, interesting, and rewarding first school experience.

Children learn best in a setting that includes children of all abilities and backgrounds. We believe that it is never too soon to begin receiving the highest quality educational opportunities.

We understand the importance of nurturing your child’s strengths and talents, while offering an increasingly challenging academic and social emotional program that fits the unique needs of your child. Our goal is to prepare your young person for the next educational step both academically and developmentally.


  • Full Time 7.30am – 5.30pm Monday – Thursday.  7.30am – noon Fridays
  • Shared Full time slots available – 2 families share a full time slot
  • Limited half day slots available 7.30am to noon or noon to 5.30pm

Why are we focusing on 2 to 4 yo care?

    • Families are the cornerstone of a healthy and thriving community and our focus is on families!
    • Set children on a healthy and positive trajectory for the next educational step in their development.
    • There is a need in our community for this kind of care.
    • We know 2 to 4 yo need a stimulating, playful and rich environment that sets them up for success in the early years and the years that follow.

Beliefs and Program Philosophy

  • We believe that children learn and begin to understand core concepts of literacy, math, science, social studies, and the arts best through active engagement, exploration, discovery, creation and of course, play! We have a strong focus on developing social emotional skills and supporting children with their emotions and healthy communication with peers and adults.
  • We believe that the early years of education are fundamental for instilling social and individual characters that make the world a better place. Our everyday environment is focused on modeling and reinforcing, self-esteem, friendship, empathy, honesty, cooperation, strength, and emotional health.
  • We believe that children learn best when the curriculum fits the needs and strengths of the child. Learning activities and expectations are matched with the children’s chronological and developmental age, their abilities, and interests.
  • We believe that children will become lifelong learners when they are curious and are having fun! Our staff understand the importance of maintaining a classroom environment that teaches children a simple, yet important lesson: Learning is interesting and rewarding!

Teachers Focus on 4 areas of development and this is embedded into daily activities and routines,  using direct instruction, and during teacher led and student led activities

  1. Physical
  2. Thinking (cognitive)
  3. Social and Emotional
  4. Language

Other key points:

  • Various Evidence based curriculum materials are used and are mapped to the Montana Early Learning Standards
  • Teachers track child progress through developmental and social emotional evaluation and assessment, literacy screenings, data tracking using the ONTrack data collection system, portfolio development, anecdotal notes and records
  • Universal screenings in speech and language are given upon enrollment, individual and group speech language sessions available for all kids 2 x per week
  • Students’ experience in our program is individualized. It must remain fluid and responsive to the child to ensure success. Not all curriculum activities and materials will work for every child. We are attuned and responsive to each child’s needs, strengths and areas of interest. The range of development and the sheer scope of learning that takes place during the first 3 years ensure that the pace of change will be rapid. We plan and implement a responsive curriculum that is adaptable as your child masters skills, encounters new tasks, practices, practices, practices, and emerges from one stage to another.
  • Praise, encouragement and meaningful support and feedback is key to student success. When children are motivated, engaged and happy – they learn and have fun!
  • Building healthy strong relationships with peers and teachers in the classroom is an important first lesson on what it means to be a good friend and a kind person. Our focus is on belonging, involvement and creating a stimulating, yet loving environment.
  • Teachers are highly skilled and qualified with over 60 years of combined experience
  • low ratios and lots of adult attention, support, but children are also allowed to freely explore and learn independently and at a comfortable pace
  • Young children learn by exploring the world around them. Our center care environment is a critical aspect of our curriculum. Our classroom environment:
    • 1. Ensures safety
    • 2. Promotes health
    • 3. Provides comfort
    • 4. Is convenient
    • 5. Is child-sized
    • 6. Maximizes flexibility
    • 7. Encourages movement
    • 8. Allows for choice

If you have any questions about Florence Crittenton’s Childcare Center or Preschool, would like to set up a tour or discuss the enrollment process, please feel free to contact Sarah Mitchell our Early Childhood Programs Manager at 406 996 1111 or email at [email protected].

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