Strong Foundations Early Learning Center
Strong Foundations Early Learning Center is licensed through ADHS and has been in operation since 2004. We serve Homeward Bound client families, former client families, and families in the neighboring community. We have received national accreditation through NAC (The National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs). We are a Southwest Human Development Early Head Start Partnership site, Quality First participant, and ADHS Empower Program participant.
At Strong Foundations, we limit our capacity, group sizes, and ratios to meet NAC, Quality First, and Early Head Start standards. Of the 6 classrooms, 4 are Early Head Start classrooms, and the other 2 are mixed-age pre-kindergarten classrooms.
As a first step to enrolling your child at Strong Foundations, we encourage all parents to schedule a tour of our center. This offers you the opportunity to see students at work in our environment and discuss any questions or concerns you may have. We encourage families to schedule their tours between 9am and 12pm, before quiet time begins.
Please complete and return an enrollment packet or wait list form if interested in enrolling. Children under the age of 3 will also schedule an appointment with our Family Support Specialist for an Early Head Start application.
Please keep in mind that space is limited and registration is on a first-come first-serve basis with siblings of currently enrolled students having first priority. Strong Foundations enrolls students of any race, color, nationality and ethnic origin. We highly encourage you to register your child a soon as possible in order to guarantee a spot for them.
What Parents Are Saying:
The mission of Strong Foundations Early Learning Center is to prepare children for future academic and life-long success by providing high quality early education in an emotionally supportive environment designed to build resiliency.
All children are capable of learning and worthy of respect. High quality early experiences help children develop attachment, initiative, and self-regulation skills which are necessary to create a strong foundation for learning and resiliency.
- To promote resiliency and help children strengthen their protective factors by identifying concerns, developing goals, implementing a plan of action, and making referrals.
- To provide opportunities for children to develop an understanding of self and others and to foster a climate of respect, encouragement, and responsiveness.
- To engage children actively in the learning process, providing a variety of developmentally appropriate learning experiences, and encouraging children to pursue their own interests.
- To offer and supervise a safe indoor and outdoor environment that promotes physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
- To work closely in partnership with families to ensure high-quality care for children and to help parents feel supported and welcome as observers and contributors to the program.
- To staff our program with teachers who understand child development and who recognize and meet the individual needs of children and families.
- To provide on-going, relevant training to staff.
- To administer the program effectively based on current early childhood research and best practices, while considering the needs of the children, families, and staff.
- To adhere to the higher accreditation standards established by NAC.
- To commit to continuous quality improvement.
Strong Foundations Early Learning Center uses the Construct Teaching Curriculum in the infant and toddler classrooms. This approach has been field tested and evaluated by Arizona State University in partnership with Southwest Human Development Early Head Start Program. It provides developmentally appropriate experiences that promote strong child outcomes in the areas of social and emotional development, language and literacy, cognitive development, physical development and approaches to learning.
Strong Foundations Early Learning Center utilizes the Active Learning Curriculum Framework to plan developmentally appropriate experiences for 3, 4 and 5-year-old children enrolled in our preschool program. Active Learning has been developed by well-known educators and researchers in the field of Early Childhood Education. Our Early childhood Specialists incorporate “active” learning into the curriculum by using a complete planning guide with a format describing activities and appropriate materials, and a resource and skills checklist. Active Learning provides a framework that is consistent with current research in Early Childhood Education and Arizona Early Learning Standards. This curriculum emphasizes school readiness through providing suggested learning experiences that promote school readiness in Social/Emotional development, Physical Development, Language and Literacy Development, Cognitive Development, and Science/Technology, Engineering, and Math Development.
Construct Teaching Assessment tool is used in all of our classrooms. This assessment system has been field tested and evaluated by Arizona State University in partnership with Southwest Human Development Early Head Start and Head Start Programs. Our teachers use this tool to assess children’s progress on the areas of Social Emotional, Language, Cognitive, Physical and Approaches to Learning, in order to gain a deeper insight into children’s needs and measure their growth.
Construct Teaching aligns with the Common Core State Standards, Arizona State Early Learning Guidelines, and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.
Strong Foundations Early Learning Center focuses on the following areas of development:
- Social/Emotional development
- Physical development
- Cognitive development
- Language development
- Science and Technology
- Social Studies
- The Arts
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Strong Foundations staff have:
- CPR/AED/First Aid training
- Food Handler’s Card
- Negative TB test, repeated every 2 years
- Up to date immunizations
- Verified AZ DPS Fingerprint Clearance Card
- Criminal Background Check & ADCS Central Registry Background Check
- Clear Drug Test
- A minimum of a CDA credential or 12 credit hours in Early Childhood Education
- A minimum of 6 months of experience in a licensed child care facility
Homeward Bound has had a long-standing partnership with ASU to provide students an opportunity to get hands-on experience working with children, especially those who may have experienced trauma and other risk factors. These internships are an important part of each student’s degree program.
- Student interns are never left alone with children, or expected to supervise children.
- Student interns do not change diapers, assist children with toileting, or changing clothes
- Student interns are not expected to discipline children; however, we always expect that Strong Foundations’ philosophy of positive guidance and respect for children is consistently modeled so that students learn the best strategies for interacting with children and re-directing them when appropriate
All interns are screened, background checked, possess a fingerprint clearance card, and are trained on policies and procedures.
In order to maintain appropriate ratios, we may utilize substitute teachers. We utilize substitutes from an agency which requires and provides documentation of all ADHS licensing requirements for staff (TB test, ADCS Central Registry Background Check, current immunizations, AZDPS Fingerprint Clearance Card, CPR & First Aid.)
We have several valued volunteers who participate in our program on a regular basis. All volunteers are screened, background checked, possess a fingerprint clearance card, and are trained on policies and procedures. Volunteers are never left alone with the children.
In mixed-age classrooms there is home-like closeness and intimacy associated with family life that is beneficial for young children. Staying with the same teachers for several years enables the children, parents, and their teachers to form strong and stable relationships with each other as they might if they were with extended families and small communities.
The key to effective teaching is for the teacher to understand each child’s individual needs – academic and otherwise. In a mixed-age classroom, children remain with the same teachers who can observe and assist the child through the entire cycle. The teachers have more time to get to know the child and gain more understanding, giving the teachers the ability to effectively tailor the curriculum to each individual child’s needs.
Anyone who has gone through a big change (e.g., change jobs, change careers, moved to new location) will tell you how stressful it can be and the time it takes to get adjusted. When children leave home to go to a new toddler program, preschool, or elementary school, they go through similar challenges. Changing teachers and classrooms every year in these early years adds unnecessary challenges for the child. Having the same room and the same teacher frees the child to concentrate on learning without having to get to know new teachers and a new environment.
Younger children benefit from being exposed to the more advanced work that older children are working on. Because the children are relatively close in age and development, younger children relate closely to the older children, and become very curious and interested in learning. Older children are able to test and reinforce their knowledge through discussion with the younger children. Having the confidence from mastering subjects gives older children the motivation to gain even more knowledge. Everyone faces constant stimulation, which generates an internal, organic desire to learn and do more.
Within a multi-year, multi-level environment, basic concepts are constantly reinforced, yet there is an unlimited potential as to what the children may learn. The first year in a preschool room, for example, the three year old learns a lot from just observing the others who have been there longer. Concepts are easier to grasp and learning becomes easier because the first time the teacher teaches something to a student, it will not be the first time the student was exposed to it. Once this strong foundation is established, his/her age or a set curriculum does not bind a child.
Leadership requires complex mental capabilities – understanding, relating, motivating, explaining, and doing what’s right. Such soft skills cannot be easily taught, but rather must be learned through one’s own experience. This type of interaction among mixed ages mirrors real life, and teaches all children how to hold different roles and interact with those of all ages.
- Children are able to spend several years with the same teachers. This allows the teachers to develop a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and needs, and are therefore in a better position to support the child’s learning.
- Children are viewed as unique individuals. The teachers focus on teaching each child according to his or her own strengths, unlike in same-age classrooms that often expect all children to be at the same place at the same time with regard to ability.
- Children develop a sense of family with their classmates. They become a “family of learners” who support and care for each other.
- Older children have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles.
- Children are more likely to cooperate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see each other as competitors.
- Older children model more sophisticated approaches to problem solving, and younger children are able to accomplish tasks they could not do without the assistance of older children. This dynamic increases the older child’s level of independence and competence.
Children are invited to take charge of their learning, by making choices at centers and with project work. This sense of “ownership” and self-direction is the foundation for lifelong learning.
We have a commercial kitchen onsite where our Nutrition Specialist prepares homemade meals. We participate in a family-style dining routine. The teachers sit down with the children, engage in appropriate conversation, model social skills, and encourage healthy choices.
Menus are posted on the Parent Board. Food allergies are posted in each classroom and in the kitchen. Alternate provisions are made for children with allergies and/or other special nutritional needs. Drinking water is available at all times. Any special treat brought in by parents (i.e. birthday treats) must be store bought. Please see your child’s teachers to make arrangements.
Meal times for the center are as follows:
8:00 – 9:00 am Breakfast
11:00 – 1:00 pm Lunch
2:15 – 3:15 pm Afternoon Snack
Strong Foundations participates in the federal Child and Adult Food Program (CACFP). The goal of the CACFP is to improve and maintain the health and nutritional status of children in care while promoting the development of good eating habits. In compliance with CACFP and to qualify for the program, Strong Foundations collects Meal Benefit Income Eligibility Applications from all families. All applications are confidential and only used for the CACFP program. Affidavits are updated annually and upon enrollment by all families.
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Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.