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Lemberg Center a valuable resource

By Katarina Weessies

Section: Features

September 11, 2015

Every Tuesday, Lily Elderkin ’18, walks into the Lemberg Children’s Center to be greeted by a group of enthusiastic toddlers. They run up to her shouting “Lily!” and surround her, each giving her a hug. Since Lily supervises toddlers, aged 22 to 32 months, each day is full of rowdy and playful excitement.

Kids at Lemberg participate in a wide variety of developmentally appropriate activities. Toddlers and pre-schoolers’ schedules include water activities, singing, outdoor playtime and, of course, naptime. The infants’ schedule is far more relaxed, mostly alternating between sleeping and playtime. Each age group of children provides its own unique set of joys and challenges. Toddlers, for example, can be rowdy and unruly but are also enthusiastic and loving. The staff makes an effort to embrace the set of challenges associated with each age group.

Lemberg has created its curriculum to suit every type of young child. They create as inclusive of an environment as possible, and maintain a diverse group of students and staff. They provide individualized care and education that cater separately to the needs and interests of each child. Their website states that they value “flexibility, openness and creativity,” and that they are “sensitive to cultural, racial, cognitive and physical differences.” This inclusive education can boost students’ confidence, and can encourage tolerance and open mindedness.

When describing her favorite aspect of working at Lemberg, Elderkin cites the friendliness of the children and staff. She states that the children “will get to know you, will be excited when they see you and will call you by name.” Lemberg maintains a friendly and comfortable environment for the children and staff, which contributes to the inclusive education and care of the children. At Lemberg, staff are “encouraged to give hugs, be soft spoken and be comfortable with each child.” Staff maintain an unbiased perspective when working with children of different genders, races and backgrounds, and encourage friendship and empathy across gender and cultural lines.

Lemberg provides year-round care, and works with a limited number of children in order to maintain a superb student to supervisor/teacher ratio. In toddler classes, the adult-to-child ratio for the toddler program is 1:4, so each child is able to receive individualized care and attention.

This attention can contribute massively to a child’s educational development. When each child is allowed to play and learn at their own pace, and is encouraged to be proud of themselves and their backgrounds, they often learn at a quicker rate than they would with a less individualized approach.

Lemberg’s goals as an institution mirror those of Brandeis. Both institutions seek to be as inclusive as possible, and to provide individual attention to each pupil. Lemberg encourages the anti-bias perspectives that are respected by Brandeis students, and is inclusive of students with special developmental needs and varied cultural backgrounds. Lemberg, much like Brandeis, is known for its friendly and caring environment. They seek to provide “loving, educationally appropriate care” and develop “friendship building, community involvement and excitement for learning,” according to their website. All of these are characteristics of Brandeis.

The Lemberg Children’s Center, with its friendliness and cultural awareness, is an important part of Brandeis. Their staff encourages the individual development of students, and builds friendship and empathy across different cultures and backgrounds. Although most Brandeis students have never been to the center, it reflects our values as a university.

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