Kidspace, founded in 1990, is a nationally accredited child development center for 76 children ages six weeks through five years old. The children are from families that are homeless and living at House of Ruth or another transitional program or shelter in the District of Columbia.
At Kidspace, children have individualized learning and care plans to help them achieve their highest potential. In bright, engaging classrooms, each child is taught by nurturing, well-trained teachers. The goals are to help the children develop skills and autonomy; to promote a life-long love of learning; to increase communication skills; and to promote positive development.
The approach is to encourage curiosity, creativity and learning how to learn, rather than rote memorization. Independent thinking and problem-solving are nutured. Readiness skills are introduced as children progress, including pre-reading, math and writing skills, to prepare them to enter kindergarten.
Being born into a homeless family is very hard on a little child. In fact, every child entering Kidspace has delays across all developmental domains. The enriched learning environment helps many of the children achieve their developmental milestones. For children who need more help, speech and language therapy, psychotherapy and occupational therapy are provided on-site. Speech and language and occupational therapists provide parents with exercises to perform at home to help their children achieve their developmental goals. The play therapist meets individually with parents to discuss the progress their children are making and how they can help their children cope with trauma.
In addition to offering a safe, nurturing and educational environment for the children, Kidspace provides parents with counseling, support, advocacy and connection to resources in the community. Social workers work directly with the parents to help them address their issues and involve them as positive actors in their child’s education. Parents are expected to commit to improving the situation of the family. Assistance is provided to parents with many issues, such as housing, education, training, health care, and employment.
Children who have special needs are given additional help. The staff works closely with parents of these children to gain the resources to meet special needs once the child leaves Kidspace and enters kindergarten.
Private donations are essential to operate Kidspace. Your support enables us to provide skilled teachers and therapists to help children and families grow, as well as cheerful, well-equipped classrooms and outdoor playgrounds.
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