The Ironbound Early Learning Center is a new state-of-the-art, LEED certified facility built last year in 2014, 35,000 square foot center for 222 children and their families. A new $6.5 million infant and toddler wing was completed in September 2014 that enabled ICC’s Early Head Start Program to be integrated, physically and programmatically, with ICC’s Early Childhood Preschool Program, creating a model 0-5 Center. Early Head Start provides care, education, and interventions for at-risk children ages birth to 3 and their families, as well as pregnant women. The program serves the neediest: participating families are at or below 100% of the poverty level (approximately $25,000 for a family of 4) and are selected based upon the greatest needs. Research shows that the earliest years of a child’s life are the most critical for healthy brain development and that children in disadvantaged families typically receive less support in many regards, from the vocabulary they are exposed to to the number of books in the household to the stressors their families face.
Early Head Start attempts to address these challenges with well-trained teachers in classes with a 1:4 adult to child ratio and comprehensive supportive services for children and families, including medical examinations, mental health care, and interventions to address various disabilities and delays. Monica Vines, executive director of Early Childhood Center of the Ironbound, participated in highlighting the importance of pre-school education. Vines believes qualifications are key to educating your child in all aspects of their learning. Keen on staff and teacher qualifications, she notes all staff members have their CDA degree and all educators are certified. This translates into what Vines calls a well-balanced educator who is authorized. She cites need of an organized program and shares that they are NAEYC accredited, which is extremely high accreditation, in all their schools. Vines explains that there is the school component of pre-school, meals — which cover breakfast, lunch and a snack — and especially stresses the importance of social interaction.
Children kept at home are within the confines of only one family, ‘around a whole bunch of adults’. At ECCI, they get exposure to children from Brazilian, Portuguese, African-American, Asian, Puerto Rican and Mexican cultures. ECCI takes 3- and 4-year-olds from Newark on a first-come, first-served basis meeting their October 1st deadline. They work with Newark Public Schools and referrals through Programs for Parents. Uniforms are worn throughout the year though ‘relaxed’ in summer. Parental backgrounds range from welfare to the upper middle class, and from doctors to parents who are incarcerated. Last week was identified as the “Week of The Young Child” at Learning Center and its staff of teachers, parents, administrators and family workers planned fun-filled days of events.
Children were having fun participating in flower shops,, nail salons, post offices and bakery shops created by teachers and supported by all the parents at the school. Ironbound Early Learning Center and its staff of teachers, parents, administrators and family workers have planned fun-filled days for “The Week of the Young Child Celebration.” Children are having fun participating in flower shops, nail salons, post offices and bakery shops created by teachers and supported by all the parents at the school.
2) Ironbound Early Learning Center Celebrating “The Week of The Young Child” A community of houses in the Ironbound area was created by children and their parents to kick off celebration. Parents and children were thrilled to show off their creations
3) 3D Artwork Created by Children and Their Parents
4) Celebrating Our Community at Ironbound Early Learning Center 5) Three Year Olds Having Hair and Nails Done at the Salon
I6) Ironbound Early Learning Center 14) Ms. Fin’s Class Flower Shop Celebrating the “Week of the Young Child” at a flower shop–planting flowers in the sand table, painting flowers in art and reading about plants in the library area.
15) Baking and Cooking with Ms. Jacqueline Rodriguez Ms. Jackie set up stations of delicious desserts at her bakery of fine pastries