Field Day Finale Ends LVCC Summer Programs

Winding down a summer of active learning and physical fitness, LVCC brought together nine of our sites for a field day at the Emmaus Community Park. Over 140 children, ages 5-12, enjoyed a day chock-full of fun and sportsmanship. The children ran, jumped, skipped, tugged and cheered with their teammates in a series of relays. 

Many of the relay races required focus on balance and speed to prevent dropping plastic eggs, blocks or pizza boxes. One activity station had the children working together to capture the other team flags. A tug-of-war tournament concluded the day's activities.

LVCC's physical education teacher, Brandi Stettler, supervised the event as referee.

Funding from Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation., Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation, and AmeriHealth Caritas made the summer physical fitness program possible. Our friends from Aetna and Pocono Mountain Dairies supplied refreshing beverages on field day.


Celebrating a milestone for parenting teens

Proud Allen grad, Victoria Santana
(right), with her son and mother.
Every parent faces challenges being the best mom or dad they can be. When the parent is a young teen, the challenges increase. So does the need for support.

LVCC at Allen has been supporting teen parents in the Allentown School District since 1981. By providing on-site child care and early education for infants and toddlers of parenting students, the center helps young parents stay in school and graduate. Their children, meanwhile, learn and grow in a safe, responsive early childhood program.

Nataezsia Hines (in pink, holding her son)
poses with three generations of her family
and LVCC teacher Monae Riveria (lower right).
Congratulations to Class of 2014 graduates! They worked hard to reach this milestone. Too many teen mothers in the U.S. never earn a diploma or GED.  We’re proud of these students and thankful to them for entrusting their children to our care. As they move on to new challenges—further education, work, or the military—we know they will continue to be the best parents they can be.

LVCC thanks the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley and the Rider Pool Foundation for supporting LVCC at Allen.
Cristina Semidy, Allen grad, holds her
son in LVCC at Allen's nursery.

Divine Robinson (left) and Leslie Cox (right)
are able to graduate with the help of ELECT
social worker, Ingrid Ferreira (center), and an
LVCC scholarship for their daughter.

Shayla Ramos (right) celebrates graduation
with her son and boyfriend.

Graduate Ana Pena (left), pictured with
her son and LVCC teacher Tanya Lang.


Happy Heart Health Day

On February 7th, the staff and children of LVCC on Walnut Street showed their support of National Wear Red Day® by wearing red clothing and participating in activities that promote heart health awareness.

Toddlers, preschoolers, and Pre-K Counts students
from LVCC on Walnut Street in Allentown.

The morning began with stretching exercises. The preschool and Pre-K Counts children then learned fun facts about the heart's function in the body.

The younger preschoolers practiced important motor development skills like cutting with scissors.While creating heart-shaped art projects, they discussed how the heart is associated with feelings of love and holidays such as Valentine's Day.

In their journals, the older preschoolers in Pre-K Counts practiced writing sentences about having a healthy heart. They also drew nutritious foods that they like to eat. After a delicious snack of applesauce and graham crackers, the children were powered up to learn some more!


Indoor Art Projects with Fallen Snow

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the activities inside are delightful!

With the temperature below freezing this week, it was too cold outside. Try telling that to a room full of preschoolers who just want to play in the snow! The innovative teachers from LVCC at Stones Crossing came up with a solution... bring the snow inside.

The teachers collected buckets of snow for a unique indoor art project. The toddler and preschool children added the snow to recycled baby food jars, then mixed in liquid watercolor. VoilĂ  - instant paint! Experimenting with the science of art, the children discovered a spectrum of colors by mixing primary colors.

The toddlers painted individual artwork, while the preschoolers worked together on a banner. The children were asked to paint freestyle from their own imagination. The mural soon became filled with vibrant color.

As they painted, the classes discussed the properties of snow-- how it's cold and when melted, it becomes a liquid. The children asked and answered many questions. Where does snow come from? What color is snow? The favorite topic was how to build snowman with snow.

Families are welcome to view the finished mural on display in the back building of LVCC at Stones Crossing.


Students Train Seeing Eye Dog

FALL 2013
Students from LVCC at Nazareth Area Intermediate School
received a puppy, Echo, to train for the Seeing Eye program.
Every year with instruction from Center Director Colleen Heimbach, the students enrolled with LVCC at Nazareth Area Intermediate School help raise a puppy to enter the Seeing Eye guide dog program.

The children each take responsibility in the care of the dog during operational hours. Since guide dogs must lead the visually impaired away from obstacles, the children perform obedience instruction by giving and reinforcing basic commands like turning and sitting.

Throughout the year, Ms. Heimbach introduces her students to the world of working dogs by reading books and stories about the functions of guide and service dogs.
Echo earned his Seeing Eye vest thanks to help from
LVCC at Nazareth Area Intermediate School students.

This year's German Shepherd pup, Echo, recently earned his guide dog vest after testing with a Seeing Eye representative. He was evaluated on his basic obedience, as well as his reaction to strangers and the environment.

Echo will advance to further training with The Seeing Eye until he is placed into a home. In time, the students will receive letters following up on how the dog has adjusted to training and his new forever home. The children can feel proud that they had a hand in helping people enhance their daily lives by becoming more independent.


LVCC at Shafer Brings Holiday Spirit to Others

Children attending the before- and after-school program at LVCC at Shafer Elementary School have discovered the spirit of the holidays. Since the beginning of December, the children have been collecting donations of personal hygiene products for Safe Harbor Easton. 

Safe Harbor is an emergency/transitional shelter for homeless single men and women. LVCC at Shafer teacher, Candi Buss, and her husband delivered the donations to our new friends. On behalf of Safe Harbor Easton and Lehigh Valley Children's Centers, thank you to all who contributed to the month-long donation drive.

To celebrate the success of the drive and the upcoming holidays, the children produced their annual holiday program full of festive music and entertainment for their families. 

Donning reindeer and elf hats, the children sang classic holiday songs. They performed an original dance number to "Jingle Bell Rock." After the children each read lines to The Night Before Christmas, Santa Claus surprised them with a visit.


Stretch-n-Grow for Healthy Child Development

The toddlers and preschool children from LVCC on Union Blvd. discovered the fun in fitness with the Stretch-n-Grow program. For six weeks, the children exercised and learned nutrition basics. 

The weekly class used stories, high-energy music, and exciting games to engage the children. They explored how their bodies worked through simple gross and fine motor activities.

Fitness was made fun by using imagination. A small hoola hoop became a car steering wheel. The children "drove" cars as they ran around turning the hoop back and forth.

The biggest challenge? Following directions. The children demonstrated good listening skills to perform the exercises.

Introducing physical education and nutrition at a young age builds a strong foundation for a lifetime of healthy living.


Celebrating the Holidays with the Kiwanis Club

No one loves a party more than children. And the holidays are the perfect time to celebrate. With generous hearts and lots of spirit, the Kiwanis Club of Allentown threw their annual holiday party for the preschool children from LVCC at Walnut Street and South Mountain.

Members of the William Allen High School Key Club played Santa's elves (and teacher's aides) helping to gather the children for lunch and activities.

Magician Eddy Ray entertained the preschoolers with his amusing jokes and magic tricks. The children enjoyed the interactive show.

Afterward, a special visitor stopped by... Santa Claus! He brought gifts of books and treats for all the boys and girls.

On behalf of all the children and staff of LVCC at South Mountain and Walnut Street, thank you Kiwanis Club of Allentown for bringing joy into the hearts of children!


Dynamic Dancing!

Support from the Charles A. & Leona K. Gruber Foundation and Crayola have made it possible for students from LVCC at Truman School and LVCC at Western Salisbury to receive seven weeks of an onsite dance program. Instructors from Dynamix Dance Center are leading high-energy hip-hop, jazz/funk, and gymnastics lessons.

The students are having fun while discovering different forms of movement and rhythm. As the classes progress, the children become more confident in their abilities. Channeling their boundless energy, dance gives children the freedom to express themselves through creative movement.

As one nine-year-old exclaimed, "I can be who I am when I'm dancing."

LVCC at Truman School freestyle dancing

LVCC at Western Salisbury students show off their new moves.


Career Day

Ask any child what he wants to be when he grows up and he might tell you answers like a fireman or a doctor. To give him the promise of a bright future, quality early education and child care centers like LVCC introduce different "community helpers" into the classroom. LVCC on Union Boulevard invited families and community organizations to participate in career day.

The entire center, from infants to pre-kindergartners, met policemen, firemen, and a postal carrier from the city of Allentown. 
Officer Geake and his K-9 police dog, Beny
The police officer from the K-9 Unit demonstrated how his police dog, Beny, obeys commands and the important job they do together to protect citizens. 
Allentown firemen 
The firemen brought their firetruck and dressed in full gear to show the young children that they shouldn't be afraid of the firemen if they would need to be rescued during a fire.
U.S. Postal service
The mail carrier from the United States Postal Service described her valuable job serving the community and explained how "mailmen" are sometimes women.


Ten Minutes of Learning, A Lifetime of Memories

Every Tuesday, school-age students enrolled at LVCC at Nazareth Area Intermediate School invite their families to participate in an educational open house. Center Director Colleen Heimbach carefully chooses from a number of activities based on the appropriate Pennsylvania Early Learning Standard. The program gives children the opportunity to show their parents "all the cool stuff" they learn after the school bell rings.

Although families are asked to stay only an extra ten minutes, the memories they create with their children last a lifetime.

Food science and nutrition
Parents and their children prepared healthy snacks on a stick - grape kabobs. 

Strategies of movement
Children competed with their parents to see who could balance the peacock feather longer on their heads. Parents discovered that it takes some motor coordination to keep the feather upright.

Inquiry and Design / Aesthetic Response 
Experimenting with various patterns and colors, the children and their families worked collaboratively to make duct tape lanyards. Everyone shared ideas and opinions while creating the project.


Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children Month

October is Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children month. Throughout the month, LVCC invites families to share inspiring stories about the daily successes of their children on our Facebook page.Tell us how your child's development has blossomed since joining the LVCC family.

Beginning October 1st to 4th, LVCC will also recognize the amazing accomplishments of children with a "Promise for Children" contest on Facebook. Entry is simple and free. "Like" LVCC on Facebook. Answer the Facebook trivia question correctly. Check back daily for a new question and to see if you are the lucky winner of Crayola products for your children. 


Rodale Continues United Way Day of Caring

As part of the United Way Day of Caring, volunteers from Rodale, Inc. provided a tremendous service to LVCC on Walnut Street in Allentown today. After a welcome tour of the early education center, our new friends dove right into the task at hand - organizing supplies stored in the basement.

Although the work was dirty, the volunteers cleaned dusty shelves and disposed of broken items. The new shelf units were up within a short time. Emptied and organized, the storage area became a much more efficient space for the teachers to find necessary materials, all thanks to Rodale, Inc.

Our new friends at Rodale, Inc.
Organizing took some guesswork and ingenuity.

Taking down the old and installing the new.


Local Businesses Lend a Helping Hand for United Way Day of Caring

September 12th, 2013 marked an important day for community partnerships across the Lehigh Valley. The United Way Day of Caring, in collaboration with the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley, found 800 employees from area businesses to volunteer their time by completing service projects at local non-profit organizations, including Lehigh Valley Children's Centers (LVCC). LVCC welcomed a total of 14 amazing volunteers into three of our centers to tackle maintenance tasks. A big thank you to Lehigh UniversityKistler-O'Brien Fire Protectionand Aesculap, Inc. for donating both time and energy to help us make our facilities a brighter place for learning!
Photo credit:  Christa Neu and Lehigh University
Lehigh University staff reminisced about childhood as they cleaned and organized toys at LVCC's Campus Center. Their efforts preserved LVCC's safe environment for children to play. 

 Kistler-O'Brien Fire Protection spruced up LVCC on Union Boulevard. While a few volunteers weeded the flower boxes outside, others painted our entrance and organized our storage closet inside.
The group from Aesculap, Inc. made huge headway painting LVCC at South Mountain's toddler/preschool gross motor area, as well as a staff bathroom. The walls are bright and cheery again!


Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers Holds Open House at New Location in Hanover Township, Bethlehem

Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers (LVCC) announces the September opening of its newest early education and child care center at Monocacy Manor, 395 Bridle Path Road in Hanover Township. The public is invited to tour the center and meet characters from Alice in Wonderland during family open house events on Wednesday, September 4th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, September 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

LVCC at Monocacy Manor, located near Routes 512 and 22, can serve up to 86 children from six weeks of age through elementary school age. Full-time and part-time child care for all ages will be available Monday – Friday with hours from 6:30 AM to 6:00 PM.

According to LVCC’s President / CEO Susan M. Williams, “LVCC programs are developed to accommodate key age ranges and include innovative teaching methods. Located in a picturesque country setting, LVCC at Monocacy Manor will provide children many opportunities for outdoor learning experiences, such as organic gardening. We take great pride in everything we do and look forward to providing service for families in the northern Bethlehem community.”

A not-for-profit organization serving the Lehigh Valley for over 40 years, Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers (LVCC) provides high quality early education and childcare to promote healthy child development, meet the needs of families and encourage children to discover the joy of learning at 21 locations throughout Lehigh and Northampton Counties.

For more information about LVCC at Monocacy Manor, families should call Center Director Cheryl O’Rourke at 484-225-3357 or visit LVCC’s website at www.lvcconline.org.


Air Products Helps Spruce Up LVCC

LVCC loves volunteers. Whether reading to the children or beautifying the buildings, volunteers help our staff in making the environment safe and supportive of the children's physical, emotional and cognitive development. The young professionals group from the Air Products Career Development Program recently visited two of our centers, providing a little TLC to the facilities.

At LVCC on Walnut Street, Air Products volunteers brightened the entrance of the building by hanging colorful canvases.  Outside, they painted the fencing and porch of our playground area. LVCC parents later commented on the good job by the volunteers.

Another group of Air Products volunteers, armed with gardening tools and shovels, landscaped the grounds of LVCC at South Mountain. They cleared weeds and overgrown shrubbery from around the building. Once finished, the building looked as if it had been professionally landscaped.

Thank you Air Products for sprucing up our centers! We greatly appreciate the time spent and hard labor required to accomplish the task.


DaVinci Science Center Uses Gross Gunk As a Learning Tool

Making hand sanitizer.
If it stinks, oozes, crusts, or mushes, kids are fascinated. Thanks to a generous grant from the Dexter F. & Dorothy H. Baker Foundation, this summer the school-age classes at LVCC's Judith Chase Early Learning Center and LVCC on Union Boulevard discovered the captivating world of body functions with the help of DaVinci Science Center. Bringing their Science on the Move program to the classroom, the DaVinci Science Center explored the "impolite" science of the human body. For seven weeks, the children conducted hands-on experiments with sounds, smells, fluids and body parts in the "Grossology" lessons.

Want to know why you become flatulent after eating? Ask your child! Their exploration of gross sounds and smells had them belching into balloons and testing smell kits.

How can bodily fluids teach science? Children were introduced to biology as they searched for small animal bones, fur and feathers in regurgitated owl pellets. While making troll boogers and dragon toothpaste using household products, the children explored basic chemistry. An experiment with hand sanitizer led to a discussion about germs and microbiology.

Dissecting an owl pellet with toothpicks.
The older school-ages discovered the thrill of forensics. During the dissection of a cow eyeball (demonstrated by the DaVinci educator), a number of "that's so cool!" comments could be heard among the few "ews" and "yucks." After examining bones and simulated organ dissections, the children have a better understanding of anatomy.

The children also took a field trip to the DaVinci Science Center, where their gross exploration introduced them to interactive animatronics and imaginative exhibits. Where else can you make a giant cartoon character belch from a three-foot soda can?

Mr. Steve, DaVinci Science Center educator,
demonstrates a cow eyeball dissection.


Fun & Safety at the Pool

Thanks to the generosity of the Two Rivers Health and Wellness Foundation, LVCC's Campus Center partnered with the Westside Park Pool in Bethlehem to help reduce the the risk of drowning among children. From June to July, the summer school-age children participated in six swimming lessons conducted by certified swim aids.

The children were first introduced to water safety tips (i.e. never dive head first off the side of a pool, don't run alongside the pool).

With the use of flotation devices, beginners learned basic swim skills like floating and paddling. They practiced submerging their heads underwater. As their skills developed, they advanced to the intermediate level.

Intermediate swimmers built upon those basic skills to refine movement and endurance. They coordinated kicking and arm movements, eventually swimming underwater. Able to hold their breath for longer periods of time, they retrieved rings at the bottom of the pool.

For the rest of the summer, the children will now go to the pool more confident in their swimming abilities.

Practicing kicking
Swim aid guides student as she kicks.

The student learns to guide himself using a floating board and kicking.
Practicing kicking and holding breath underwater

Treading water

Diving for rings


Red Light, Green Light: Safety on the Street

Look both ways before crossing the street. This may seem to be common-sense, but to young children who need to be aware of their surroundings, this simple message can save their life. During a visit with LVCC at Stones Crossing preschool and school-age children today, retired state trooper, Jack Brown, provided many other safety awareness tips.

Using actual traffic lights and other colorful visuals, Trooper Brown engaged the class in conversation about the importance of street safety. The children were introduced to familiar and some not-so-familiar road signs. With the help of a puppet friend, the children learned to beware of strangers through songs.

Trooper Brown had help from the Sesame Street gang to promote safety awareness.

The puppet show discussed being aware of strangers and your surroundings.

Trooper Brown introduced the children to visuals they can recognize on the street.

Audience participation

Thank you Trooper Brown for helping us stay safe!