The Importance of Educational Enrichment
Since our founding, we have striven to educate the whole child -- that is, the child as an intellectual, emotional, physical, and social being. By offering a diverse array of educational enrichment, we can explore and inspire each of these aspects of a child's development. What's more, learning opportunities that are different from those in the school environment can make a critical difference to youngsters who have aptitudes and/or learning styles that may remain untapped in a traditional classroom.
Every student in every classroom at Ossining Children's Center benefits from a well-rounded enrichment lineup. Our offerings include:
Preschool Gardening Program
Our children plant and grow an expansive vegetable and herb garden right in our own backyard. Gardening provides a variety of life lessons from planning and sustainability to instilling healthy eating habits. Plus, children who grow their own vegetables enjoy eating them! Master Gardener and Environmental Educator Andrea Sauro brings a unique ability to connect with very young children while sharing her love of gardening with them. To see our garden -- complete with child-height raised beds -- please contact us for a tour.
Digging Into Nature
We partner with Teatown Lake Reservation and The Nature of Things to bring the great outdoors into our classrooms. Live animal interactions offer hands-on and developmentally appropriate science education that features an inquiry-based approach to animal exploration. Our students may meet a hedgehog, chicken, or lizard during any given session and learn concepts of the natural world such as hibernation, molting, and migration.
Music and Movement/Dance
Music and movement help develop areas of the brain involved in language and reasoning. Recent studies have shown that musical training can actually wire the brain's circuits in specific ways. Using familiar songs to teach new information also helps to imprint the new knowledge on young minds.
There is also an underlying link between music and spatial intelligence (the ability to visualize the world accurately and to form mental images of things). This kind of intelligence is critical to the ability to do everything from packing a book-bag with everything needed for the day, to solving advanced mathematical problems.
Music and movement provide children with a means of self-expression. Self-esteem is a by-product of this self-expression., Moreover, in group music and dance activities children can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another.
Music and movement focus on "doing," as opposed to observing, which engages children actively in their learning process. This is great preparation for work and for life.
Art-related activities infuse our curriculum with fun, self-expression, and sensory exploration. Children benefit from opportunities to express themselves freely, lose themselves in a self-directed project and take pride in their work. Children are encouraged to experiment with different media in the classroom, and are introduced to different types of artists.
We incorporate age-appropriate field trips into our curriculum to expand our children’s world and provide them with new experiences. Some field trips are walking trips to local points of interest in Ossining, such as the Farmer’s Market, the new Ossining Public Library, a dance studio, the bakery and the Fire House.
Other trips may include Teatown Lake Reservation, the American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Liberty Science Center, Norwalk Maritime Aquarium, the Katonah Museum of Art, Philipsburgh Manor, Van Cortlandt Manor, the Bronx Zoo and Muscoot Farm.
Summer Film Animation Workshop in Collaboration with the Jacob Burns Film Center
Each summer, our third, fourth and fifth graders have an extraordinary learning opportunity. Education staff from the Jacob Burns Film Center teach our youngsters the art and science of creating animated films. The workshop culminates in a premiere of the students' original one–minute animated films on the big screen at the Burns Film Center. Through the hands–on creation of their films – from concept to screen – participating youngsters learn new skills in math, writing, project organization, and team work.
Child Development Specialist on Staff
Our on-staff social worker has deep expertise in early childhood development. She meets with our teacher–caregivers regularly to help them individualize their approach to each child in their care. She is also available as a resource for parents. She can reassure parents with advice on dealing with normal problems or she can suggest a consultation when a child might benefit from early intervention. Should early intervention be warranted, she will coach parents through the process of obtaining the special therapeutic services to which their child is entitled.