Our Early Learning Centers

Helping Children With Developmental Delays Prepare for Kindergarten

How We Help Children with Developmental Delays

Success in kindergarten is particularly important for children with special needs. Laying a solid foundation gives them the best possible chance to thrive, meet their full potential, and eventually become contributing members of society. It also sets the tone for the rest of their education.

To address these needs, we operate two schools. Our Bronx Early Learning Center (BELC) in the South Bronx and Staten Island Early Learning Center (SIELC) in Tottenville are model programs that prepare 3-5 year olds, many with significant developmental delays, for success in kindergarten.

Many students in our schools live with cognitive and language impairments, social and emotional difficulties, and/or 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.

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, and information on parental rights/advocacy. In both schools, skilled and talented professionals routinely review and adjust the children's Individualized Education Plans.

Both early learning centers are New York State Education Department (NYSED) approved preschool special education programs. Program approval allows us to provide multidisciplinary evaluations to children who may have developmental concerns. Evaluations may include: psychological, education, speech & language, social history, occupational therapy, and physical therapy evaluations depending on what the child may need. 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.

For more information about our Early Learning Centers, call (718) 466-3580.

"My son couldn’t even speak when he started school. He couldn’t say a word...But now he can become whatever he wants.” - A parent of an SIELC graduate

Watch a video about Nico and see how he thrived at the SIELC:


Both early learning centers are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.