"Volunteers of America’s Bronx Early Learning Center is a pleasant and child-centered environment that enables students and their families to gain confidence and obtain support. I was very happy to hear staff members clearly articulate why they love what they do, and why this age group is a particular joy to them."Carmen Fariña, former NYC Dept. of Education Chancellor
Bronx Early Learning Center
Preparing Children for Their School Age Years
About the Bronx Early Learning Center
The Bronx Early Learning Center (BELC) is a vibrant, 22-classroom preschool special education program for children between the ages of 2.9 and 5 years who have developmental delays or disabilities, many on the autism spectrum. Students are placed in classrooms based on their developmental needs. In addition to special education services, on-site speech, occupational and physical therapy, and counseling is offered for children in need of such interventions. There is also a full-time nurse and two social workers.
The BELC offers instructional and therapeutic services provided by New York State-certified and licensed teachers, teacher assistants and related services providers. It is approved by the New York State Education Department and is under contract with the New York City Department of Education as an Interim Alternate Bilingual Program (IABP), providing bilingual speech therapy services, classroom staff and multidisciplinary evaluators to serve students and families whose primary language is Spanish. Every student at the school also receives a wholesome breakfast, lunch and snack daily—at no cost to families—through the New York State Education Department breakfast and lunch program.
The BELC is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and licensed through the New York City Department of Health/Mental Health Bureau of Child Care.
Our teaching and social services staff encourage the involvement of parents, guardians and caregivers, and offer support groups, individual support, educational workshops, and team and individual meetings regarding their child’s progress, preparation for the transition to school age services, and special events at our early learning center. There are also parent councils at both centers that meet throughout the school year. Topics for training/support may include: information on parental rights/advocacy, health concerns, working with behavioral challenges, and child development.
As an approved evaluation site, the BELC provides multidisciplinary evaluations to preschool students who present with concerns related to their development. Evaluations may include:
- psychological evaluation
- education evaluation and classroom observation
- speech and language evaluation
- social history
- occupational therapy
- physical therapy evaluation
As our students turn five years of age and prepare to graduate from our early learning center, staff work with the school districts and families to identify the most appropriate classroom setting for each child for the upcoming school year.
For more information about the Bronx Early Learning Center please call (718) 466-3580.