April 10-16 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Week of the Young Child, an annual celebration of early learning, young children, their teachers, families, and communities hosted by the National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC). While this week shines light on the importance of early childhood education, the Linn County Child Development Center provides access to this vital education year-round.
For more than 50 years, the Linn County Child Development Center (LCCDC) has been providing child development and care services for little or no cost to low income families and families with at risk children who have behavioral challenges. LCCDC staff work with the whole family providing parent education and home visits to assist them in meeting their success goals.
With more than 30% of students with English as their second language and three different languages spoken, the LCCDC ensures language is not a barrier to services by providing interpreters to assist families. Staff have extensive training in diversity and cultural sensitivity, as well as trauma-based care and care for children on the spectrum. This training enables staff to be versed in the most up-to-date interventions and practices to support children experiencing those challenges.
Child Development Center Programming
The Linn County Child Development Center is a Linn County-run program that provides a full-time preschool and daycare consisting of five classrooms - four dedicated to children ages 3 to 5 years old and one Early Head Start room for children age 2. Teachers focus on the nine categories of Early Childhood Objectives for Development and Learning when building plans for structured preschool, which is held 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday - Friday. The nine categories include: social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, mathematics, science and technology, social studies and the arts.
A lot of brain development happens during the formative years of birth to 5 making it an ideal time for children work on the previously noted Objectives for Development. Children are able to take in so much information and begin to learn how to process everything from speech, self-help skills, how to get along with others and understand their own feelings and the feelings of others, while also working on higher level thinking skills introduced through literacy, math, science, and technology along with social studies.
The LCCDC is supported primarily by grants from community and federal partners, including the Iowa Department of Education Shared Vision Grant in partnership with the Cedar Rapids Community School District, Early Childhood Iowa (ECI), Head Start, Early Head Start, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), as well as Department of Human Services and in some cases, co-payments from parents. Any additional expenses are funded by the County portion of property taxes.
New Sensory Rooms
Sensory rooms are spaces designed to help individuals with sensory challenges learn to regulate their brain's negative reactions to external stimuli by providing opportunities to develop coping skills for these experiences. Linn County Child Development Center staff saw the need for sensory rooms for children having difficulties regulating emotions in a safe space away from others. Fortunately, staff was able to incorporate three sensory rooms into the design of the new Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris Building, which opened in late 2019 and houses the Center. However, due to funding needs, the LCCDC was unable to equip the sensory rooms when the Harris Building opened.
Recently, LCCDC received a grant from Early Childhood Iowa (ECI), a Linn County partner, for funds to equip the sensory rooms. These funds will make the rooms fully functional and provide much needed space and equipment to give children an early start learning coping mechanisms and self-management for success at home, school, and with peers. LCCDC is in the process of purchasing and receiving equipment to have these rooms ready for use by July 1, 2021.
Family Transformation and Support Services
In addition to the LCCDC, Linn County's Child & Youth Development Services also has programs designed to help families grow and learn outside of the Center. These programs include:
- Nurturing Parenting Program
- School to Home Connections
- Reaching Families
- Peer Group
Additionally, Family Support Services provides children's mental health funding assistance to those in need.
Learn more about the Linn County Child Development Center
and the Family Transformation and Support Services on our website