The Shafer Center for Early Intervention, a school for children on the autism spectrum, recently launched its Nursery program, providing child care services for its employees at its Owings Mills location. The Nursery offers a structured, educational program for infants and children up to 5 years old, with individualized curriculum and assessments tracking each child’s developmental progress.
The huge employee benefit of on-site child care services demonstrates the high value The Shafer Center holds for its staff of more than 60. The Nursery runs on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and follows the same academic calendar as The Shafer Center. This allows parents to follow the same work schedule as their child’s academic schedule. Parents enjoy the luxury of working in close proximity to their children and being able to spend more time together. There are scheduled “Lunch with Mom” events every Friday, and monthly “Donuts with Dad.”
One full-time provider with extensive child care experience currently oversees three children in the Nursery program, but with more staff members expecting, the Center will hire additional child care providers to accommodate more children. A 300 square-foot room within The Shafer Center is dedicated to the program; however, children can utilize all the benefits and resources of The Shafer Center. There are currently no plans to open the child care program to the public.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this benefit to our employees,” said Founder of The Shafer Center, Helen Shafer. “We have a wonderful staff and do not want our employees to have to worry about their own child care. There is a huge sense of emotional relief in having your children cared for in a trusted environment.”
While The Shafer Center staff enjoy the advantage of a trusted child care provider with immediate accessibility that follows their own work schedule, the Nursery also provides a unique and educational experience, designed to support developmental growth. The Nursery is a developmental program, employing curriculum that fosters the social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of children. The daily, time-structured curriculum provides individualized lesson plans that include circle time, arts and crafts, sensory and exploratory play, manipulative play, exercise and active play, dramatic play, and story time. The program provides parents with progress assessments using the Early Learning Accomplishment Profile (E-LAP), which provides a systematic method for observing the skill development of children in gross motor, fine motor, cognition, language, self-help and social-emotional skills.
“The Nursery program is not your average day care provider,” said Director of Education at The Shafer Center, Stephanie Durfee, M.S.Ed. “As an early intervention educational institution, we at The Shafer Center believe active play in children and their own involvement in learning is crucial to growth and skill development. Our Nursery provides a fun, yet educational environment to foster this development.”
The Shafer Center Nursery mission is to provide developmentally appropriate, quality child care benefiting the child and the parent through compassionate methods. The curriculum is designed to foster the social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the children it serves. The Shafer Center believes that young children need to be actively involved in learning through play, with opportunities to explore, experience and succeed, all while utilizing widely accepted learning/education theories and principles of child growth and development.
The Shafer Center for Early Intervention is located in Owings Mills, Md. Children at The Center range in age from 2 to 8 years old. The Shafer Center also provides off-site intervention services for children well into their adolescent years. The Maryland Department of Education has approved The Shafer Center for Early Intervention as a non-public school.
The Shafer Center for Early Intervention knows that being the parent of a child with special needs can be challenging. By being a central resource for families seeking education, assessment and treatment, The Shafer Center replaces fear and uncertainty with hope and knowledge. The Center’s unique approach and methods improve a child’s opportunity to succeed, and in turn, make it a rewarding experience for the entire family. The Shafer Center for Early Intervention accomplishes this by integrating three vital components that make its programs the optimal choice for treating children with autism spectrum disorders:
· A Whole-Child Approach
· A Multi-Disciplinary Team
· A Focus on Maintenance and Generalization of SkillsFor more information about The Shafer Center for Early Intervention and its unique environment, visit the Center’s website at www.theshafercenter.com.