The C-SUNFlowers program can turn the terrible twos into the terrific twos. That’s what Connie Stratton, clinical supervisor for the program, says about Cal State Northridge’s new family-centered, language-based preschool program for children 18 months to 4 years old.
The program was launched in spring 2010 and is run by Northridge’s Language, Speech and Hearing Center. It is a speech- and language-based developmental model that provides opportunities to develop and expand language, play and motor skills in an open and supportive environment. The program runs on a semester basis and meets twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. It is available to faculty, staff, students and community members.
“Language is acquired through experiences, not direct teaching,” said Stratton about the emphasis on language in the program. “This language-rich program expands vocabulary and stimulates language to its best potential.”
The program includes family members as part of a “natural learning environment” where the children can be with their families and exposed to new learning opportunities. Children in this age group develop best within their families in a natural learning environment, Stratton said, which is what the program provides. Parents with other children can bring the siblings to the classes as well.
Dorothy Nguyen-Graff, lecturer in CSUN’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has had her 2-year-old son in the program since it’s launch in the spring. She said the program is great because it has helped improve her son’s verbal, social and motor skills. She also likes the program because the staff accommodates her schedule.
“I dropped him off and I ran to teach and came back,” said Nguyen-Graff. “They were flexible with our schedules.”
An assessment performed during the first three classes helps determine where the child is at developmentally and what his or her next steps should be. Then a child development specialist, kinesiologist and graduate students in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences work together to design a program that fits that child’s needs
“For a little one who’s got a developed vocabulary and is using sentences to communicate, maybe beginning to tell little stories would be her next step,” Stratton said. “However, another child may need to start with simple word games.”
The program can take up to 12 children at a cost of $540 per semester, which is about $20 per class. There are discounted rates for students. Financial accommodations for families are provided on a case-by-case basis.
For more information contact the Language, Speech and Hearing Center at (818) 677-2856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.