10th Street Center
In February 2013 we acquired the former Arcata Children’s Center. The preschool at the 10th Street Center is the same size as our Exploration House and serves low-income families. Over the Summer of 2013 we renovated the building to improve the preschool space and add a toddler classroom which serves up to 12 children between the ages of 18 monthes and 3 years old.
The Toddler Center follows a primary caregiving staffing plan where each caregivers is responsible for 3-4 specific children. The primary caregiver is the person who is mainly responsible for the child, builds a relationship with the child's family, and most often carries out day to day routines with the child.
The Toddler Classroom
With primary care, the program is structured so that the toddlers know that someone who understands them well is emotionally available for comfort and nurturance. The staffing is provided by one credential teacher and part-time assistant teachers. A ratio of one teacher to three or four children is maintained at all times. Our Toddler Center provides care in small groups as the size of the group influences the quality of the toddler's experience in numerous ways. In a small group there are fewer distractions and the children's activities are more focused. It is easy for children to be heard and understood. Toddlers are better able to develop a strong relationship with their primary caregiver, and the caregiver has the flexibility to manage the needs of the children.
Once a primary care relationship is established for a toddler, our policy of continuity of care ensures keeping a small group of toddlers and caregivers together throughout the toddler period. This policy prevents the child from repeatedly experiencing the loss of a special caregiver. An additional benefit of continuity is that the children develop strong friendships with each other. Often assistant teachers and groups of children remain together until the children leave for kindergarten.
The Preschool Classroom
The HSU Preschool serves children ages 3 to kindergarten entrance. Teachers provide an educational program for children. It is our belief that children learn best when they are provided with an opportunity to freely explore and interact within a stimulating environment. Indoor and outdoor activities are provided to include integrated experiences in creative and language arts, science, emotional and social skills, sensory exploration and self-help skills. This classroom serves 24 older preschoolers with two credentialed teachers and additional part time assistant teachers. The philosophy of our program is to provide a safe, accepting environment where children develop at their own rate. We strive to enhance each child's self esteem by providing an environment where children can experience success. Our activities are planned around the children's interest and abilities, providing as much support as the child needs while encouraging the formation of independent skills. We enjoy indoor cooking activities, creative dramatics, science, art, music and dance as well as outdoor climbing, swinging, gardening, and a variety of visitors from our Children's Center community.