The Relief Nursery Therapeutic Early Childhood Program provides a unique combination of individualized classroom and home-based developmental experiences for children birth through 5 years of age. All aspects of the program focus on the specific issues of children from multi-stressed families who have experienced trauma, abuse, stress, or are at-risk for such experiences. Utilizing research-based developmentally appropriate practices with a focus on the importance of relationships, the Therapeutic Early Childhood Program facilitates learning experiences and healing emotional support for these children. Each teacher assumes the role of both classroom teacher and family support home visitor. This allows them to establish effective and supportive relationships with the children and the parents. Staff are attentive to providing this support through consistent interactions, as well as being available for immediate response in times of crisis.
The primary attributes that distinguish Relief Nursery’s therapeutic classrooms include the following:
- Relief Nursery maintains a high ratio of adults to children, using that high ratio to help children meet individualized goals.
- The therapeutic classroom does not function in isolation. It is part of a larger system providing comprehensive, ameliorating services to both child and family.
- To provide continuity between school and home, the child’s classroom teacher is also the family’s home visitor, helping to enhance parenting skills, promoting parent-child relationships, and creating a healthy and nurturing home environment. The teacher/home visitor is in a unique position to help connect parents with other critical Relief Nursery services, involving crisis support, alcohol and drug recovery support, and mental health services.
- Nursery staff members integrate formal mental health and special education services into the classroom and all other child and family sessions. All Relief Nursery children participate in developmental screenings designed to reveal the need for further assessment and/or specialized services to ensure appropriate and healthy development.
- The curriculum and environment at the Relief Nursery support the individual need of each child, as well as the overall therapeutic nature of the program. Teachers, specialists, and parents work together to establish individual goals for each child.
The Therapeutic Early Childhood Program is one aspect of the Relief Nursery that provides comprehensive services to both the child and family: