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Learning At Play

Child Care Center Helps City Youth Prepare For School

May 17, 2009
By Dave Emke, demke@post-journal.com
Patricia Rosenbrock takes her work very seriously. As the director of A Children’s Place, a child care center located in, and a mission of, the First Presbyterian Church of Jamestown, Ms. Rosenbrock heads a program that has enjoyed a relationship with the community for 38 years and with the Jamestown Public Schools Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program for 11. ‘‘Early childhood education is vital to our community,’’ Ms. Rosenbrock said. ‘‘Children need a strong early learning foundation to succeed in school and go on to succeed in life.’’ There are 86 children currently enrolled at A Children’s Place, ranging in age from six weeks to 5 years old. Forty-eight of those children are in the JPS/UPK program. CHILD-INITIATED LEARNING According to Ms. Rosenbrock, who is also a member of the Chautauqua County Childcare Advisory and the representative for the Chautauqua County Child Care Directors Group for South County Department of Social Services Childcare Management Team, her center provides a balance of child-initiated and teacher-initiated activities. ‘‘The goal of the child-centered classroom is to stimulate a child’s natural curiosity, provide experiences, promote experimentation and exploration, and address the child’s needs and desire,’’ she said. ‘‘The more independently a child can proceed, the more highly developed his or her sense of self-esteem and confidence will be.’’ Child-centered classrooms at A Children’s Place include a reading center, writing center, block center, dramatic play center, manipulative center, art center and discovery center. According to Ms. Rosenbrock, each center is designed to provide a balance of individual and small-group activities. ‘‘Strategies are in place for observing and monitoring the children throughout the day,’’ she said. Ms. Rosenbrock is particularly proud of the Music and Movement and Children’s Music Studio programs at A Children’s Place. She says the music immerses children in language, evokes fine and gross motor movement, stimulates the brain and fosters physical coordination. ‘‘(It’s) a holistic experience,’’ she said. The early care and education program is also designed, according to Ms. Rosenbrock, to ensure children with limited English proficiency are provided with equal access and opportunity to achieve program goals. Two teacher aides on staff at A Children’s Place are English-Spanish bilingual. ‘‘Children who have entered our program with limited English proficiency have made outstanding progress,’’ she said. ‘‘A Children’s Place has become a multicultural, multi-ethnic, multireligious stew of delightful children and staff.’’ BRINGING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER ‘‘Bringing communities together for children — Children bring communities together.’’ That is the slogan of the Month of the Young Child, which falls in April. According to Ms. Rosenbrock, A Children’s Place is a prime example of that credo. ‘‘We are an experienced worksite for many, many organizations out there,’’ she said, adding that the center has hired two staff members who are now financially independent from Social Services to full-time jobs with benefits. A third person hired by the center through the Work Employment Program of the Department of Social Services is currently working part-time. In addition to its work with the DSS, the center participates in programs with Chautauqua Works, the Erie 2 BOCES School to Work Program, the Jamestown Community College Early Childhood Intern/Work Study Program, Ross Innovative Employment Solutions and the JPS School to Work Transition Program. SPECIAL OFFERINGS According to Ms. Rosenbrock, A Children’s Place offers services, resources and referrals that are not always available at all area childcare centers. Among those are dental screenings, vision screenings and developmental screenings for the youngsters enrolled there. ‘‘We take a comprehensive approach to early care and education,’’ she said. ‘‘We ensure that our children receive these screenings in collaboration with community organizations.’’ The center also works with area organizations to provide educational and fun activities for children outside its walls, including field trips to places such as the Erie Zoo, the Pumpkin Patch in Ellicottville, the Busti Cider Mill and the Audubon Society. In addition, the center provides six weeks of free swimming lessons at the YMCA for children 4 years of age and older. A Children’s Place makes wrap-around care available for families in need of the services before and after its UPK program, as well as during school breaks and holidays. ‘‘Offering UPK in our childcare center helps families with working parents who are in need of full-day care,’’ Ms. Rosenbrock said. ‘‘Close coordination with JPS is essential for ensuring that resources are used effectively to meet the needs of children and families.’’ For more information about A Children’s Place and its services, contact Ms. Rosenbrock at 487-2238.

Article Photos

Cindy Sampson, head teacher in the JPS/UPK program at A Children’s Place, works with students Carson Stevens and Carter Constantine.
Submitted photos

 
 

 

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