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Toddler program accepting children as young as 18 months

GREATER SPRINGFIELD " By the time children turn one and a half years old, stay-at-home moms or dads realize that their children are ready for more than just at-home play. The Springfield JCC Preschool, which schools children of multi-cultural and multi-denominational backgrounds, understands this. In response, the JCC is offering experiences parents can feel comfortable with in their first school-related experience. The school is now accepting toddlers as young as 18 months old into its Eelanot ( Trees ) class. This class will begin in September and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. In addition, toddlers as young as age 22 months will be accepted into the Anafim ( Branches ) class, which will meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, beginning in September. Parents have the option of adding Tuesday and/or Thursday to their toddler s schedule in the Anafim class. When asked why she likes the idea of sending her young toddler to the JCC s Eelanot class this coming September, Amy Halpern of Longmeadow responded, I like that this class will socialize my toddler with other children, and give him opportunities he wouldn t experience at home. The experiences Halpern is talking about include learning through exploration of the environment, learning to be independent, as well as learning to work in a group. For many children, these classes are the first introduction children have to school, away from parents, said Debra Cohen, Director of the JCC Early Childhood Program. This is a safe and nurturing environment in which children explore the world around them and build trust with other adults. Registration has begun, and classes are expected to fill quickly. Interested parents can contact Debra Cohen at 739-4715 ext. 311, or dcohen@springfieldjcc.org to schedule a tour of the facility.

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