Suzanne Del Villar, a lead preschool teacher at Stony Brook Child Care Services (SBCCSI), has been awarded a Suffolk AEYC (Association for the Education of Young Children) mini grant. She is one of only two recipients in the county.
Del Villar’s grant will allow children with and without sensory challenges to have access to materials that support sensory development. The materials to be purchased and utilized are used by specialists and recommended to teachers with children experiencing sensory processing challenges. Most preschool classrooms do not have these materials readily available. Opportunities will be provided to children without sensory challenges to explore these materials as well, fostering tolerance, patience and positive relationships with peers who struggle with sensory challenges.
Some of the sensory materials to be added to the classroom include:
Sit Discs are round inflatable cushions with smooth bumps that during active sitting experiences help children with sitting, standing and balancing. Sit Discs also help strengthen postural muscles.
Tic-Tac-Toe Gel Pad allows children will play tic-tac-toe and engage in a tactile experience by manipulating game pieces through embedded gel. This game encourages midline activity, inspires social interaction and reinforces visual traction skills.
Space Explorer is a “body sock” children can step in to and learn about the physical space around them. It is a multisensory tool that develops children’s spatial and body awareness, motor planning and coordination.
Del Villar was awarded the grant at the June 12 SAEYC Annual Meeting, which was held at Stony Brook Child Care on South Drive. At the annual meeting, 2012 SAEYC mini-grant recipients Jill Stafford and Josefina Gallardo-Salguero, SBCCSI lead teachers, gave a presentation on how they used their grant funding during this past year.
Each year the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children awards five or six small grants in amounts up to $500 to applicants who have submitted the most effective proposals for mini-projects to enhance programs for young children. The program has been in place for 16 years and funded projects have gone to teachers and assistants, family day care providers, school administrators, consultants and college professors. Topics have ranged from parent-child relationships, home-school links, literacy in the home, curriculum development, assessment, staff and pre-service training and conflict resolution.
Since the program’s inception SBCCSI has won grants for NYS family benefits, health and safety grants and training grants, SUNY operating grants, SUNY child care and development block grant.
Click here to learn more about the SBCCSI or call (631) 632-6930.