Space Coast Early Intervention Center Executive Director Leslie Roth believes all children can benefit from the Center’s mission of inclusion.
When Leslie Roth arrived at the Space Coast Early Intervention Center earlier this year the school’s reputation was already well established in the community. Over the last two decades the Center has developed into a nationally recognized not-for-profit preschool for children with and without special needs. Roth, who has been involved in non-profit administration/management since 1985, was drawn to the school’s mission of inclusion. “What we do here is put everyone in the same boat, working to achieve goals for all of the children. Disabled children benefit greatly by setting a pace that typically developed children can follow, while typically developed children learn from the all-inclusive atmosphere”. Roth served as CEO of Girls Scouts of Broward County for nine years “where our goals included diversity and inclusion. I believe deeply that as a society we must do everything we can to encourage inclusion. It’s so easy to exclude people, but the more we don’t include them, the fewer opportunities they have to succeed,”
Education is the Key
“This truly is a school. Often times nursery schools are little more than a day care facility, that’s not the case here. All of our teachers are certified in early childhood education and our goal is that when our children enter kindergarten they will succeed. Here we focus on skill building, education and societal inclusion, with education being our primary mission”.
“I envision our next step as adding kindergarten classes. Many of our parents would love to have their children continue their education at a place they know and love. We also have to get outside of ourselves a little more. We do fabulous, wonderful things at the Center and we need to let everyone in the area know that. Perhaps we’ll add more locations should the opportunity arise, but for now I would really like to see our programs brought to high risk areas-challenged communities that perhaps need us the most. There are more children out there that could benefit from what we do, we need to identify them and educate their families about how to get to our services so that we can help”.
Spreading the word
In January 2008 SCEIC staff members and volunteers moved into their new state-of-the-art building. The HOPE Center is the result of thousands of volunteer hours and more than $850,000 of in-kind services provided by community businesses, skilled trades worker, volunteers and others. “Our building campaign really put SCEIC in the public eye. We derived enormous support from the community through that effort, but when capital campaigns end there is a tendency to fade away from the limelight. We need to get back into the mix. It’s the executive director’s role to be the face of the organization out in the community. That’s why I’ve been busy joining various organizations and speaking to groups about the school.” Roth encourages everyone to make an appointment to tour the Center. “When you come by here and look into the classrooms you can’t tell the difference between our students. Most of them don’t want to leave here-this is where they feel the most comfortable. Once you come by and see what we have to offer I guarantee you won’t be able to walk away.”
SCEIC Public Programs
The playground is open for community use Saturdays and Sundays from10 a.m.-4- p.m. for children 13 months-10 years
“This is one of the few ADA accessible playgrounds in the county,” says Roth. “It’s a fabulous facility and a great place to spend and hour or two with your children on the weekends.”
The playground is also available for birthday parties Saturday or Sunday from 10am-12:30 p.m. and afternoons 1-3:30 p.m. for a donation of $35.00.
Offered on two Saturday nights a month for parents.
“Many times special needs families have difficulty finding caregivers for their children, so we offer this opportunity to them as a safe place so they can enjoy a night out.”
Room for 20-25 typically developing and disabled children
Licensed therapists, staff members, aides and volunteers present
For children 18 months-8 years
$12 for the first child, $8 for the second and $5 for the third
Space Coast Early Intervention Center offers a variety of programs, services and opportunities including:
Full Inclusion pre-school classes Monday-Friday ages 13 months-4 years
VPK programs for 4-5 year olds
Part time programs for 18-34 months and 3-4 year olds
Mommy/Daddy & Me; Early Experiences – a part time parent participation class designed to offer socialization and instruction one day a week
After school 3 to 6 Mix offered weekdays 2:15-6 p.m.
Handwriting Without Tears after school writing instruction
Kindergarten And Beyond summer program Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. for ages 5-8