CECI now accepting 12 month olds
Due to the demand, the Children’s Education Center of the Islands is now accepting 12-month-olds.
Director Cindy DeCosta said three of her teachers wanted to expand their offerings by working with 1-year-olds, as well as parents asking if the center accepted that age group. Previously the youngest child was 18 months old.
“We kept seeing a need,” she said.
There are both half day, and full day options available Monday through Friday; Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday and Thursday. A total of four 12-month-old children will be accepted into the new program.
DeCosta said one of her teachers will work with the youngsters, and she will be available to offer assistance when needed. The old 2-year-old room of the center is in the process of being transformed into a room for the 12 month olds.
The center has rules for each classroom depending on the age. For the one year olds, the rule will be “gentle touching,” which DeCosta said works when playing with friends, toys and interacting with wildlife.
The room, will include a reading area, which the youngsters will always have access to, with a good assortment of books. She said it will be a great space if the child needs a couple minutes of quiet time. The space will also include cribs.
A curriculum will be created to capture the one-year-old’s attention through such programs as songs with a Baby Doll. DeCosta said they have used this curriculum with the older children and saw great translations into real life.
For instance, the one year olds will sing songs with a baby dolls while pretending to take care of it, as well as other tasks. She said she watched the older kids translate such phrases, “as are you OK,” when playing with the other children.
An arts center, touch tank/table and a manipulative table will also be available for the 12 month olds. DeCosta said they will also teach the youngsters sign language, such words as milk, and water, to help them communicate and decrease temper tantrums from occurring.
“We are big on manners. It helps with playing,” she said.
Other areas will include singing, art projects and playing with homemade, nontoxic Play-Doh.
“It’s a process over product experience,” DeCosta said of all of their activities. “It’s how they see it instead of how we see it.”
Free play, and plenty of outdoor time on the playground will also be incorporated into the day.
The outside time will allow the children to play individually, as a group with their class, and with the whole school. DeCosta said many times they enjoy snack time outdoors.
Although these activities will be available, she said the structure of the day will be a lot looser than with the older children, so they can accommodate the child’s schedule.
The teachers are certified in first-aid and CPR. They also receive 15 hours of continued education every year, which DeCosta said is above the state requirements. There are currently five teachers at the Children’s Education Center of the Islands.
For more information, call the center at (239) 472-4538.