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Watson Avenue Early Childhood Center

For several years (since July, 1996) the Watson Ave. Early Childhood program sponsored by Birch Family Services has provided the highest quality of services for typically developing children and children with special needs handicapped by a host of environmental factors such as poverty, malnutrition, language delays, homelessness, illiteracy, and parental substance abuse.

The three major components of the program include day care services for typically developing children which, is funded by the Administration for Children's Services and Agency for Child Development (ACS/ACD); the special education program serving pre-school children with mild delays funded by the New York State Education Department and the NYC Board of Education; and finally the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program which is also funded through the NYC BOE. We provide services for up to 200 3, 4, and 5 year olds.

During the past several years at the Watson Ave. Early Childhood program there has been a strong focus on the development of emergent literacy skills in young children. Efforts in supporting this goal have been launched through the Birch Literacy and Technology Project. The project was implemented in four phases which involved the purchasing of state-of the-art computers with supporting software; staff development and training to use software programs designed to enhance literacy development through facilitating storybook reading, vocabulary building, early story writing, word recognition and phonemic awareness; an on-going assessment of each child's literacy skills with the establishment of a database documenting these results; and the final phase in which a post assessment of the children's literacy skills is conducted at the end of each school year.

In Sept. 2000 we introduced the Breakthrough To Literacy (BTL) program to three of our four year old classrooms (rooms 2, 3, and 7). BTL, designed and implemented through the Wright Group Publishing Company, is a computer-based literacy program which emphasizes the same goals and objectives as listed above. This program has been proven to be very successful with the children and teachers alike. In Nov., 2001 we expended the BTL program to both of our kindergarten classrooms (rooms 6 & 10) with the expectation that those students will equally benefit from its use.

In addition to the Literacy and Technology Project, our program has plans to track and monitor the progress of the Birch Curriculum introduced to our staff in Sept., 2001. A staff self-assessment tool will provide feedback to administration on its usefulness and practical implementation with the students in our program.Finally, our program also continues to build upon the strong parent involvement already established in previous years (through our Parent Advisory Committee). Our PAC has played an outstanding role in providing extra-curricular activities to our children and families as well as establishing ties within the local business community.

Janice Goldman, Principal
1880 Watson Avenue
Bronx, NY 10472
Tel (718) 828-9400

Watson Avenue Early Childhood Center