On April 11, Joshua Early Childhood Center (JECC) marked three years in business. What started with less than 15 staff and 10 kids enrolled, now has 32 staff and serves 55 families.
The inclusive atmosphere at JECC is undeniable. Students from both Joshua Academy (JA) and Joshua Early Intervention (JEI) participate together in activities each day.
By way of background, JECC moved and expanded in 2016 to a new facility located in Centennial CO. The school combines its preschool, Joshua Academy, with its Joshua Early Intervention program that serves children with autism ages two and a half to six years old.
“The Joshua Early Childhood Center grew out of our renowned early Intervention model to become an all-inclusive setting that serves children between the ages of 2 and 6 years old to form a community that emphasizes acceptance, understanding and character,” says Joshua Executive Director Ed Nichols.
"It has been incredible to witness the growth here at JECC since our first day in our Centennial Location in 2016, says Jamie Cohen, program director at JEI. “We came here with about 10 families and now serve over 50. I am very proud to see the high-quality programming within JEI and JA continue and help more families who need our support."
What’s so special about JECC is that it offers an integrated preschool model that is the gold standard for early intervention in a school setting. JA is a curriculum-based early childhood learning experience for all children. JA focuses on development in all key areas, including social, emotional, pre-academic and physical.
“We place a heavy emphasis on building character, kindness and acceptance through out integrated environment,” says Brooke Lestikow, program director of Joshua Academy. According to Brooke, JA utilizes Creative Curriculum and Teaching Strategies GOLD for assessment and teaching areas such as literacy, arithmetic, and social/emotional development. And, 14 students graduated on May 18 from JA’s Treasure Mountain classroom. These budding students are off to kindergarten in the Fall.
JEI is a non-profit autism treatment program for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Utilizing the science of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and 1:1 staff/child ratios, the school has helped children for more than six years make tremendous progress. JEI also is recognized for raising the standards for autism treatment. During an average year, JEI’s program transitions about 80 percent of its graduates with ASD into general education classrooms within their respective home school/public district.
At JEI, there is a big emphasis on Community Based Instruction and having our young children practice being out at various places like the grocery store and restaurants. “We believe it is just as important for our kids to develop skills out in the community in addition to he classroom environment, says Jamie Cohen. “We make sure every child has at least one community based goal within their treatment plan.”
JEI’s Red Cloud Peak classroom practices going out to eat on a weekly basis. Recently, they went to a local Big Bills NY Pizza. The owner, Big Bill, was so impressed by the kids and staff that he did not charge them for the pizza. And, Bill thanked each employee and made an effort to really get to know the kids. Every interaction and opportunity we have out in the community helps spread our organization's mission and increase awareness and understanding. A big “thanks” to Big Bill’s!
Joshua Early Childhood Center is located at 5760 E. Otero Avenue, Centennial, CO 80112. For more information, go www.joshuaearlychildhoodcenter.org, email info@j