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Farmingdale Observer - Schools

Building To Build Lives

Farmingdale State College anticipates the grand opening of their new $7.5 million Children’s Center in late September. It moves from its old location to a bluff overlooking Route 110 at the college’s parking field one. The building includes gross motor room playing areas, two extra-large play rooms for the center’s summer camp program, and individual playgrounds for specific age groups for the children of students, staff, and community members.

Linda Crispi, Children’s Center director, says they look forward to providing more summer programs and half-day summer events in 2014. The center will include school vacation care, winter and spring breaks. With the additional space, air conditioning and heat in the building and an added infant room, the center is ideal for returning students, faculty, and community members with young children.

The existing children facilities are several trailers put together that were put up more than 20 years ago as “temporary accommodations.” Farmingdale State College has cared for children since World War II and values the importance of early childhood education and development. Its mission is to encourage and support the growth of each child in all areas of development. It aims to install a positive self-image, provide a safe secure and happy environment.

The center cares for than 60 children each school year, from eight weeks of age to pre-k. Crispi expects the number of enrolled children to increase with the new facility. The staff consists of professional early childhood educators who are certified in infant and child CPR and First Aid, and are MTA trained. Curriculum incorporates all areas of child development including pre-math and writing, early literacy, and music.

Programs at the center focus on infants, toddlers, and pre-k. Infant education focuses building trust through interaction with infants while responding to their non-verbal communication. The toddler’s program emphasizes their high energy and need to explore, while the pre-school program allows the children to master skills needed in kindergarten. Parents may enroll children at any time for half day or full day care two, three or five days a week.

Aside from early childhood education, the center hosts trips to the college’s art gallery, dental hygiene department, and even celebrates an annual Halloween parade where nursery students design their own costumes. The children learn about the police department and the East Farmingdale Fire Department comes each year to instruct on fire safety. This past year the children made weekly visits to the college’s horticulture department, where they learned about the importance of composting, planting, and maintaining a sustainable garden. “Our children leave here more than ready for the pre-k,” said Crispi.

On Saturday, Sept. 28, the new Children’s Center will celebrate its open house with guided tours, meetings with the staff, an alumni program and pictures of the past. There will be activities for the children, a puppet show, music, and more. Local farmers markets will be selling goods, and parents will be able to participate in an auction. A grand opening raffle will offer prizes including a $5,000 gift reward.

Farmingdale State College’s returning students will receive affordable rates if their class load exceeds six credits. Campus employees or state employees may also receive discounts when sending their children to the Children’s Center. Monthly fees for community members do apply however do not exceed the market price.

Parents choose the Children’s Center at Farmingdale State College for its diversity, safety and interactive programs. Farmingdale students can be sure that while they are receiving an education, their children are receiving one too. Tight relationships are built between the children and teachers, as well as childhood friendships. Children and parents seek to maintain friendships among the children after they have moved on to elementary school. “Because it is a four year program, we get to see them grow,” says Crispi. “Having that continuity is really nice.” The center is perfect for parents looking for a diverse program, where young children learn through exploration and interaction.