Early Education and Extended Day Child Care
SouthSide provides a nurturing, educational and individualized program for children from six weeks old to pre-kindergarten (age five). With three age groupings guided by the same philosophy and curriculum, we can provide continuous care in an accredited center from infancy to preschool graduation. Children may enter the program at any age, depending on availability. Center hours are from 7:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., year round (we are closed for 10 holidays per year).
- Our infant and toddler program is an Early Head Start (EHS) program, currently operated in partnership with CDI Head Start, a highly regarded national non-profit operator of Head Start and Early Head Start programs. EHS promotes the healthy development of children during the first three years of life. The three EHS classrooms have one teacher for every four children, with a maximum of eight children per classroom.
- Our toddler program accommodates eight children from 24 to 36 months in an Early Head Start classroom. This program is funded by a partnership with Youth In Need. This classroom, also a one to four ratio, promotes the development of toddlers, emphasizing language and social development, as well as the acquisition of essential cognitive and motor skills for continued achievement in preschool and beyond.
- Our preschool program accommodates 66 children in four classrooms, with an average teacher: child ratio of one to eight, and at most, one to ten. This program engages children in joyful learning through play with the objective of developing creative problem-solving, strong social skills and curiosity. Ultimately, the goal for preschoolers is to graduate with all the skills needed for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Family Support and Involvement
At SouthSide, families – however that is defined for our children – are our partners in their education, social development and healthy growth. We strongly encourage family participation in Center activities, classroom volunteering, special events and field trips. Family members are welcome to visit the Center at any time. We have four structured meetings with each family during the year: fall home visit, late fall family-teacher conference, spring home visit and late spring family-teacher conference.
Several special events organized by staff and families bring the entire Center together. Our summer picnic and Thanksgiving Dinner are popular highlights of the year.
We also support our families to meet their own unique needs and to improve their quality of life. When a child enrolls at SouthSide, our Family and Community Services Manager works with the primary adult in the family to establish their own goals: for example, to get a better job, advance their education, save money for a home, or learn a new skill. We then help find the resources and assistance needed to make that a reality, relying on our extensive network of community partners.
Working with staff, families also create agendas for monthly family meetings, mothers’ support groups, and special events for fathers. All family meetings are held in English and Spanish.