Programs

The Downtown Ithaca Children’s Center is more than just childcare!  Our Center offers rich programs for children from birth through school age.

The focus over the last few years has shifted from drop-in childcare to full day program with trained early childhood providers.  On-going staff training opportunities allow teachers to stay current with best practices in the field of early childhood.  The program is strength-based, to allow the gifts of each child to become the building blocks in all areas of development.  The teachers at the Downtown Ithaca Children’s Center respect the value of creating a loving, diverse, educational, and inviting environment for your children that is intricately woven into the downtown Ithaca community.

Our staff is trained in the following:

  • 2nd Step is a program that supports social and emotional resilience.  Success in social emotional development provides the basis for all other developmental areas.  If a child feels secure about him/herself, and has interpersonal skills to interact with peers and adults, the likelihood of success is great!
  • Teachers are all trained to effectively support children who are exhibiting behavior challenges.  Every early childhood program will have children who go through typical developmental “testing the limits”.  Our program supports these times, and is prepared to also support the child who is acting out due to additional stresses in his/her life.  Our teaching teams work together to immediately create a behavior support plan, to allow for greater consistency and follow up for each child, helping the child to find skills for dealing with feelings, and to keep all other children appropriately cared for.
  • Teachers have been trained in Developmentally Appropriate Programing, and know what skills to look for at this early age.  Our teaching staff is trained in assessing, on an on-going basis, the current level of development, coordinating with parents for optimal success, and creating a curriculum that inspires natural steps in growth.  This programing includes weekly lesson plans with activities for each area of development provided each day.  Inside and outside learning environments are created to offer distinct natural learning in interpersonal skills, language, fine motor, gross motor, intellectual, and independent living skills.  Classrooms are set up to invite children to explore and learn together, and teachers are present to guide children, to provide a safe and nurturing environment at all times.

We also collaborate with the Sciencenter.  They have developed programs for our toddler and pre-K classrooms, offering opportunities for hands on exploration of the natural world.  Each of the classrooms also participates in creating a monthly special assembly for our school community, and a guest appearance offers singing, magic, or some additional surprise for the children.

Other unique traits of the Center include our food program.  Breakfast, lunch, and a snack is prepared fresh daily on site with a focus on using organic vegetarian ingredients.  Toddler and preschool children are served family style meals, to encourage a sense of independence and cooperation while enjoying nutritious and wholesome meals.  Along with this meal program, we follow best practices using local organic ingredients as often as possible, recycling, and composting, to support an understanding of sustainability.