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Child Development and Family Services Center

Program Philosophy


The Center's commitment is to the educability of all children. Each child's prior and out of school experiences are valued and the Center sees its role as one of identifying and building on those strengths. The school, therefore, is an extension of the child's family and community. The scope of early childhood educational experiences is not limited to the child's preparation for public school. Rather, it is a program for the total development of the child based on her/his needs. The Center holds the view that the development of language, social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills are integral to the total growth potential of children and are not isolated ends in themselves. We understand education to be a process of nourishment that takes time for children to learn the skills needed throughout life. No amount of 'drilling, conditioning, training' will enable children to grasp materials presented to them until they, themselves, reach the point where their entire beings respond positively to the stimuli.

Through exploration and manipulation of materials such as clay, water, paints, blocks, paper, sand, children develop their sense of mastery and control over their environment. Children cannot be passive observers and listeners in the education process. Their active participation is necessary for growth. We must be supportive of what children are doing and provide direction without intrusion, so that they trust their own immediate experiences and be open to themselves and the world.
The Child Development Center offers children rich early childhood experiences through creative arts, blockbuilding, woodworking, sand and water play, dramatic play, mathematics, science, and literature. Every activity that occurs in the program leads to others.

Functioning as an extension of the home, the Center offers an open classroom setting where learning occurs through hands-on activities and social interactions. The Center, a mixed-age program, operates out of four (4) classrooms defined by concept, i.e., Creative Arts, Family, Math and Science, Woodworking and Blockbuilding. Each classroom's activities are built around the room's concept, yet all curriculum areas are experienced in each room. The children experience each classroom as they make choices throughout the day, and transfer concepts learned in one classroom to other rooms. Learning is an active, total process.
Although focus at the Center is not on preparation for the child to transition into public school, but rather on the total development of the child, the Child Development Center's alumni, do very well in public school, as they are prepared in all aspects of themselves, cognitive, emotional, physical, and social. The Child Development Center serves many purposes for children, parents and teachers. The children experience an enriched learning process, the parents know their children are in a safe, nurturing, learning environment, and the teachers learn from the children, redeveloping and refining the teaching and learning process, and the process continues.

The Child Development Center seeks to create a non-sexist, anti-racist atmosphere in which children work up to their potential. It is a place where they develop independence, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, initiative, and evolve a positive self-image. We believe that through this basic foundation and approach to learning, the child is able to meet any educational challenge.

Contact Information

p: 212.650.8615
f: 212.650.8712