Request For Collaborators (RFC) for Intergenerational Daycare and Preschool near University Circle, in The Star

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 04/04/2007 - 23:10.

The Intergenerational School rendering

Work is far advanced planning an Intergenerational Living and Learning Neighborhood, radiating from an area of East Cleveland and Cleveland centered in the historic former Hough Bakery Complex (formerly The Star Bakery), at 1519 Lakeview Avenue, a few blocks east of University Circle. The plan is to base at this large complex of facilities and land a synergistic combination of an expansion of The Intergenerational School, a senor services and community center, a computer center with cybercafe, a food services incubator, and an Intergenerational Daycare and Preschool facility, with benefits to all the people in the surrounding community, radiating from The Star.

Star Complex One Mile Radius Map

I'm leading development of this neighborhood and complex, through an entity called Star Neighborhood Development, and I am seeking people and organizations in this region interested to collaborate in the development of the Intergenerational Daycare and Preschool facility (and any of the other initiatives planned). There is immediate need for quality Daycare and Preschool in this area, and an approximate 5,000 square foot ground level indoor space and considerable land is available now for conversion to this purpose. Please read on and pass this on to anyone you know who may fit with the stated objectives.

Preschool Building Front View

Based on the intergenerational learning model, which has proved effective for K-6 education, by the highly effective Intergenerational School, an Intergenerational Daycare and Preschool will bring together lifelong learners young and old for a shared-village approach to early child development. The experts in this form of education are found at The Intergenerational School, and they will assist with program development for this Daycare and Preschool, which will serve as a feeder facility for a K-8 school, to be added to this complex in the future.

Intergenerational Learners

It would now be valuable to add to this collaboration others interested in excellence in early child development, and interested to develop a Daycare and Preschool program from the ground-up, to expore how intergenerational learning may provide an optimal learning environment for our most important people, young and old. That there is need where we plan this school is undeniable, as reflected by the number of children in poverty in the area, and the lack of preschool options in these neighborhoods.

Preschools in Star neighborhood

Recent research has shown that children placed in Daycare and Preschool tend to be more aggressive in later school development, and it is clear our society needs to explore new models to support our youngest learners. Results of the study, by the National Institute of Health, released in 2003, found "evidence that children who experienced better quality child care-in which caregivers provided intellectual stimulation and were warm, positive, and sensitive to child behavior-had fewer child caregiver/teacher-reported problem behaviors and conflict than did children who experienced lower quality care." In Updated 2007 findings, "study authors suggested that the correlation between center care and problem behaviors could be due to the fact that center-based child care providers often lack the training, as well as the time, to address behavior problems. For example, center-based child care providers may not be able to provide sufficient adult attention or guidance to address problems that may emerge when groups of young children are together, such as how to resolve conflicts over toys or activities."

Especially in underserved communities like the neighborhoods of Cleveland and East Cleveland where we will locate this facility, the need for quality child care, at the very youngest ages, is certain. There is also a shortage of quality Daycare and Preschool for people working in the University Circle area, which this facility will serve. I know of this shortage, as my wife works at Case and there are few Daycare and Preschool programs in the vacinity. If you know of any, please post them here or email me (see end of posting)

Original Hough Bakeries, Auberndale View

My experience, to date, in looking for Daycare and Preschool for my son, is there are marginal childcare options available, at great cost... we're paying over $400 a month for part-time care in Lakewood, that is far from impressive. Already, after just a few days in the facility, our son exhibits behavioral changes that are not positive. He is eating the poorest quality food of his life - processed, surely with transfats - because they do not provide quality food nor allow outside food. All in all, the options we have found for daycare and preschool in the core of NEO are poor. The one exception I know of is the Music School Settlement, where my older daughter went. It is excellent but expensive, and I do not believe takes children under 3. I intend to check out the Karamu House program, although it is expensive, as well.

We do not know of any better options, so have taken what is available and seems safe. That is a disappointing next step in our son's development, but it is necessary for us to work. Oviously, we are not alone in facing such a sad circumstance and hopefully there are people in the community interested to drive better outcomes for the futures of our children and community. So, our near-2-year son will be one of the first attendees for the school we will create, as will be the grandchildren of the owners of the complex, the Williams family (of Hot Sauce Williams). And they will eat local-grown, healthy organic food, and receive quality care. Would you like to have your children or grandchildren join them - can you help develop the world's finest preschool? Here's some space to build in.

Preschool Inside Front View

I am confident that the combination of a great location and facility with an innovative program developed with the experts at The Intergenerational School can lead to NEO having the finest early child development program in the world, and I seek those others in this community interested to help make that happen. Whatever your interest in this, whether educator, administrator, entrepreneur or parent, please feel free to post here your thoughts, or email me of your interest to collaborate - Norm Roulet - norm [at] realneo [dot] us

Satellite view of school site

Reflections on the Preschool my son gets, at any cost

When I think of the very nice daycare/preschool where my son is today, I can already see many problems that would be solved by the Intergenerational model I've seen demonstrated at The Intergenerational School (TIS). Whereas my son is now in a one size fits all model, grouped by age, the TIS model groups kids by where they should be, developmentally. The school where my son spends his days has lots of young women managing the kids - probably paid about minimum wage and not planning to stay long where they are, or committed to early child development. The environment is not nurturing - more of a mini-classroom. The TIS model brings elders together with the young, allowing them to experience life together in unique bonds. I see this more like my son visiting with his grandparents, which was found in the recent studies I reference to be a nurtuting environment. What I would like is a high quality place, with smart programming, and with the familial character of home with grandma. I also want the place to be smart about what it feeds my child and what he experiences. That is not happening where he is in Lakewood, at any cost. Do you know of anywhere that happens today? Do you have thoughts on how to make that happen in the future?

Disrupt IT

Daycare Centers and Libraries

I joined realneo after attending the first meeting of Cuyahoga County Early Learning Consortium.  I expected that there would be a groundswell of visible change (in defense, a lot of people, myself included, did not understand this medium at the time). 

We are too slow in addressing this crisis.  I also figured that situating daycare centers with libraries would be a natural progression of the discussion, but it has not happened.  "Intergenerational" is the new buzzword.  Let's hope that the ideal does not get buried in the bureaucracy.

Thank you Norm for reinvigorating this discussion.  It has to move faster than it has moved. Although, there are many ground troops trying to make a difference everyday, it is too confusing and typically the bureaucratic response has been to create several agencies and overlap.  I expected more of the original planners to be participating on realneo, but that too has not happened.  Wouldn't it be great for East Cleveland to buck the system and make it happen?

TIPS - this is the real thing and is happening...

There is immediate need in the community for The Intergenerational Pre School (TIPS) - we have a great property in which to do it, with the support of the owners (the very cool Hot Sauce Williams), as core to a large economic redevelopment project reaching to University Circle, collaborating with Cathy and Peter Whitehouse, the founders of The Intergenerational School, with is one of the most highly regarded charter schools in the country, all with great support from both Cleveland and East Cleveland, and the county. Cathy and Peter Whitehouse are developing the intergenerational program - we'll certainly work with McGregor and the Helen S. Brown Serior Citizens Center - partnering with Case and the other schools and orgs in UC - Kent Urban Design Collaborative has been doing the master planning and we've presented the project to the Cleveland Foundation and have their support. We already have plans for an intergenerational playground, which will be open to the community when not in use by the preschool. We'll have Joe Stanley, of NEOmainstreet, do preliminary interior design (keep it simple - self build - reuse) - we have an Engineer and contractor for major work - for basic build-outs we'll do a community build and I'm sure Habitat for Humanity can help - they want to put 5-6 houses in this neighborhood. I'll post more of the planning here.

If you'd like to go through the property, let me know - it is amazing (the whole Hough Bakery Property). I'm planning some design meetings there over the next few weeks and am there regularly - even on weekends.

BTW - I told the Whitehouses I had issued an RFC for this project and expected we'd hear back from someone at the library - we'd like to work with CPL and the East Cleveland library in any extension programs you may have or we can create... so I'd love your suggestions.

Disrupt IT

Conductive learning

What Is Conductive Education?

Conductive education is an intensive, multi-disciplinary approach to education, training and development for individuals with cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other motor challenges.
Developed in 1945 in Hungary by Dr. Andras Peto, conductive education is based on the theory that the central nervous system has the capacity to form new neural connections, despite neurological damage. By repeating tasks and integrating intentional movement with learning, the brain creates alternate paths to send messages to muscle groups, creating the desired movements. Through this, a child can gain movement and skills, and achieve greater levels of independence.
The critical element of conductive education is the integration of motor-skill development with cognitive and emotional-skill development within a group setting. Most children with motor challenges do not learn exactly the same way as their peers. Conductive education helps these students build their cognitive skills and helps them learn to use alternate strategies to learn. This total approach to learning and training targets children under the age of six, when the potential for impact is greatest, and when they can be prepared for the traditional classroom.

With CWRU, the Clinic and UH nearby --what does it take to see the potential and to tap into this type of energy?