We know that children with special needs, in order to have the best possible chance of thriving, meeting their full potential and becoming contributing members of society, must have the support they need to succeed in kindergarten, the foundation for the rest of their education.
To address these needs, we operate two schools. Our Bronx Early Learning Center in the South Bronx and Staten Island Early Learning Center are model programs that prepare 3-5 year olds, many with significant developmental delays, for success in kindergarten.
Many of the children have cognitive and language impairments, social and emotional difficulties, and sensory and motor problems. In some classes, developmentally-delayed children learn in classrooms alongside their typically developing peers. Instructional and therapeutic services are provided by certified professionals, including on-site social workers and special educators, as well as speech, physical, and occupational therapists.
Our staff also includes a psychologist and full-time nurse. Teachers encourage the involvement of parents and caregivers and offer support groups, individual counseling, educational workshops on behavior management, health and hygiene issues, language development, fine-motor development, parental rights and advocacy. In both schools, skilled and talented professionals routinely review and adjust the children's Individualized Education Plans (IEP).
State-approved evaluations are provided free of charge to every child and include psychological, educational, speech and language, occupational or physical therapy assessments. Once the children are about to graduate from the ELC, the team helps identify the most appropriate and least restrictive environment for the children's next move – kindergarten.
The Early Learning Centers are funded by the New York State Education Department and the New York City Department of Education, and licensed by the New York City Department of Health. Both Early Learning Centers are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.