New Early Childhood School Director Familiar with the Challenge
Opening a brand new early childhood school is a daunting challenge. Luckily for Goodwin College, Jenna Tenore is not just up to the task, but has done it before.
Tenore – an educator with years of experience both in the classroom and as an administrator – was recently hired as the director of the Goodwin College Early Childhood Magnet School, which will open in late August. Goodwin’s latest education initiative will serve 240 children ages 3 to 5 in a unique, supportive setting built with best practices in mind.
As an interdistrict magnet school, GCECMS will draw students from throughout the Capital region to learn on the Goodwin College campus. Construction is complete on the new school, located just across the street from Riverside Drive on neighboring Willowbrook Road.
College administrators are very excited to see what Tenore will bring in her new role.
“Jenna was our absolute first choice for the principal of our school,” said Lori Blake, Director of the Goodwin College Child Study program. “She embodies the ideals we feel are crucial to exceptional early childhood education. Her years of classroom and leadership experience provide a vast knowledge base, while her warm and kind demeanor will provide the platform for building wonderful relationships among the children, families, school, and community.”
Prior to her new role, Tenore was principal of the Wintonbury Early Childhood Magnet School in Bloomfield. She worked with the teachers to create a learning environment centered on children’s learning needs, where students were encouraged to explore their creativity. Wintonbury became recognized as one of the best early childhood schools in the state and Tenore is eager to replicate the success at Goodwin.
“I believe that we can do that here as well,” Tenore says. “To have two schools like that in the Greater Hartford area is just incredible.”
Beyond the challenge of developing the new school, Tenore was drawn to GCECMS as a homecoming of sorts. She spent 18 years as a classroom teacher at Willowbrook School in a building that stands right next to Goodwin’s new facility.
“I am excited to be back in East Hartford,” she says.
The school will follow the Reggio Emilia model, a concept that values flexibility of curriculum and allows children to express themselves. Teachers serve to nurture the curiosities of their pupils and children are encouraged to learn though listening, touching, moving, and seeing. Children are encouraged to build strong relationships with their classmates and adults. Families are welcome to join in and be at the center of their children’s learning.
“We owe these children so much more than just teddy bears and dinosaurs,” says Tenore, adding with a smile, “not that there’s anything wrong with teddy bears and dinosaurs.”
Also appealing for her was the relationship with Goodwin College and LEARN, the educational service center that is partnered with the institution. GCECMS is Goodwin’s second magnet school and first early childhood center. Tenore says the College has given her a good level of autonomy, and the faculty of Goodwin’s Early Childhood Education and Child Study baccalaureate degree program has proven a great sounding board for sharing ideas.
Students from the College’s programs will play an integral part in the school. In addition to having a certified teacher and an assistant in every classroom, Goodwin students will observe and take part in learning activities. As a result, they explore their own understanding of child development and learn from the children with whom they interact.
“We get a chance to mold the next generation of students,” Tenore said. “How awesome is that? Everyone learns together.”