Ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Children's Center was held on June 16, 2004 with the current students joining guests as they planted their oversized shovels in a representative sandbox. The new Children's Center, to be completed in 2005, will serve approximately 500 children within a main facility over 21,000 square feet. Read more about the facility and its special programs below. For artist renderings of the new Children's Center go to: Renderings.
The official 'groundbreaking' for the new Children's Center. From left: Toni Spiotta, Director of the Psychoeducational Center; Patty Wolters, COTA; Robert Iamello, Principal Tomaino, Tomaino, Iamello & Associates; Dr. Ada Beth Cutler; Dean CEHS; Dr. Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University; Janey DeLuca, Director of Child Care Center, and children from the Child Care Center and the Psychoeducational Center.
With official MSU hardhats and strong voice, the children from the Child Care Center and the Psychoeducational Center sang at the groundbreaking event.
Rich Pzena, a parent who credits MSU's programs for helping his son overcome a diagnosis of autism spoke at the groundbreaking for the new Children's Center.
The Children's Center at Montclair State University will become the new home for three exceptional programs serving young children and their families; the Demonstration Program, the Jeffrey Dworkin Early Childhood Program, and the Child Care Center.
As it unites these programs, the Children's Center will become a national model for inclusive early childhood education where children with disabilities learn, play, and grow alongside their same-age peers. The Center will also serve as a learning laboratory for early childhood educators. At the same time, it will facilitate community linkages, provide distance learning opportunities, and enable research that will help advance the field of early childhood education.
The New Facility. The Children's Center will be a 21,547 square foot building towards the northern edge of the Montclair State campus. This location, with adjoining parking, offers easy, direct access for families and students. Containing two classroom pods and an academic core, the Children's Center will also feature ample outdoor play spaces. The Center will have a capacity to serve nearly 500 young children a year as it helps to prepare 400 early childhood educators annually.
Three Outstanding Programs. The Demonstration Program enrolls three to five-year olds, most of whom have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. The Jeffrey Dworkin Early Childhood Program serves children from infancy through age three who have a wide variety of special developmental needs. Through this program interventionists currently work with more than 150 families to deliver individualized at-home and in-community care. Together, they make a genuine difference in the lives of young children and their families.
The Child Care Center, which first opened in a residence hall in 1988, offers early childhood education in developmentally appropriate programs for children from three months to 6 years old. It is open to the children of Montclair State University students and staff, as well as those from surrounding communities.
Inclusive Education. Inclusive education rests on the belief that the appropriate context for service delivery to young children with special developmental needs is in the same settings where their typically developing peers are found. The Children's Center will provide a social and learning environment where children can explore, create, and experience learning as members of a diverse community. Skilled and dedicated teachers will plan rich early childhood experiences that make every child a valued member of the class. Together, all those enrolled at the Children's Center will discover that what they share is far more profound than any differences.
A Laboratory for Teacher Preparation. The Children's Center will be a place where future teachers learn through internships, observations, and other hands-on learning experiences. The programs it will house already serve as learning laboratories for University students in early childhood education, special education, speech-language pathology, and music, physical or occupational therapy. The new building will allow the university to extend those invaluable experiences to a far greater number of students. And as graduates move on to careers with schools and other agencies, what they learn at the Children's Center will have a profound impact on early childhood education throughout the region.
For more information
Tara Evenson-Jo, Child Care Center
To make a pledge to the Children's Center