Keystone Launches Two New Schools

Since its opening in 2013, Keystone Child Development Center has grown rapidly. The school was founded based on the inclusion model that provides opportunities for students with disabilities to learn alongside their non-disabled peers. The center’s leaders have spent the past four years developing and perfecting an educational approach that is thoughtful and balanced. They have successfully prepared hundreds of preschool children for success in primary school and beyond.

“Our goal was to produce an educational program that is developmentally appropriate for all young children and based on the best practices in the education field,” Katie Falwell, CEO and founder, said. “We are inspired by a variety of philosophies and approaches, which we have blended together into a program that reflects our commitment to helping children lay the best possible social, emotional, physical and cognitive foundations.”

As a result of rapid growth and what has been learned from the success of Keystone Child Development Center, Dr. Falwell is retiring KCDC and launching two new schools. Collage Day School and Mosaic Day School will open with the 2017-18 school year.

Collage Day School opens in Palm Valley with the first day of school on Aug. 10.

Collage Day School

Collage Day School, an academically challenging, independent day school that will open in Palm Valley this coming August, is currently accepting applications for students from 3 months old through 5th grade. The school focuses on providing a rich, integrative curriculum that encourages creative thinking and that is personalized for each student.

Students will start classes on Thursday, Aug. 10, and the school will follow the St. Johns County Public School Calendar. Collage Day School is located at 171 Canal Boulevard, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082. The 8-acre campus is nestled between the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic Ocean in the heart of the Ponte Vedra Beach area of St. Johns County, which offers students hands-on experiences with nature and outdoor learning and additional layers of education, history and ecology.

The faculty of the School is made up of a combination of certified lead teachers and assistant teachers. Each teacher is tasked with bringing subject matter to each student in a way that is engaging and appropriate for the developmental stage of the student, rather than following a scripted lesson plan developed by someone else.

Our approach is thoughtful and balanced. It is also developmentally appropriate and based on the best practices in the education field. We are inspired by a variety of philosophies and approaches, which we blend together into a program that reflects our commitment to helping children lay the best possible social, emotional, physical and cognitive foundations.

Collage staff is challenged with uncovering the unique learning profile of each individual student and matching that knowledge with instruction to help their students develop the tools to be problem solvers, innovators, creators and change makers.

The grounds around Collage Day School will be put to good use as a “living classroom” where children can develop cognitive, social and emotional skills. The school is dedicated to promoting students’ health. Students do not spend their day sitting in front of computers under artificial lights, but have the opportunities to move and use their bodies in healthy ways and to spend time outdoors with a myriad of natural features such as woods and pathways, garden, play equipment and an inner courtyard that provides a common area for the Collage family to gather and socialize.

Collage is completing the process for full membership and accreditation by the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), Florida Kindergarten Council (FKC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The school’s VPK program is endorsed by the Florida Department of Children & Families.

How important is preschool?

As reported in Parents.com, “There’s increasing evidence that children gain a lot from going to preschool,” says Parents advisor Kathleen McCartney, PhD, dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “At preschool, they become exposed to numbers, letters, and shapes. And, more important, they learn how to socialize — get along with other children, share, contribute to circle time.”

Mosaic Day School

 Mosaic Day School offers education for children with special needs, ages 1-7. Mosaic has classes designated for early intervention for students who are not appropriate for Collage Day School. Students attending Mosaic will receive services from Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, as needed, and attend either a half-day program (morning or afternoon) or a school day program (8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.). Before- and after-care will also be available. Mosaic also offers a day treatment program for older students that are not able to successfully participate in a classroom setting.

The school primarily serves children with behavioral/developmental issues who have experienced failure in the continuum of available public or private special education environments and require a high degree of individualized attention and intervention. The program includes intensive one-to-one sessions and small group sessions, when appropriate, which teach students to relate to their peers and participate cooperatively in group activities. The goal is for each student to reintegrate or matriculate to a less restrictive academic setting with traditional classrooms.

Mosaic Day School is located at 6867 Southpoint Rd. N, Jacksonville, FL 32216.

To learn more about Collage Day School, visit @Collage Day School on Facebook and contact Rebecca Bowersox, director of admissions, rbowersox@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.900.1439.

To learn more about Mosaic Day School, contact info@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.619.6071.

Keystone CEO Recognized for Integrated Healthcare

Keystone CEO Katherine Falwell, Ph.D. and clinical psychologist, was recognized in a recent issue of the Ponte Vedra Recorder for her efforts to help children with integrated healthcare that focuses on all areas of behavioral, developmental, socio-emotional and learning services provided by Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, which Dr. Falwell founded in 2008.

The article chronicled the path that led Dr. Falwell to open Keystone, starting with her postdoctoral residency at the University of Florida, where Dr. Falwell became part of the faculty at University of Florida in the Department of Behavior Analysis. She became aware that Northeast Florida needed more comprehensive pediatric services than it had available at the time to meet the growing numbers of children with unique needs and took the opportunity to open Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics in 2008 to further her idea of collaborative, integrated healthcare.

Keystone provides Integrated Healthcare that Focuses on All Areas of Behavioral, Developmental, Socio-Emotional and Learning Services

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Katie Falwell (far right), in addition to her passion for helping children become successful, is also devoted to her family and northeast Florida beaches community.

Next, Dr. Falwell opened Keystone Child Development Center in 2013, because she believes passionately in research that supports the importance of providing individualized instruction and support as early as possible in a young child’s life. She designed KCDC to focus on all aspects of a child – mind, body and soul – to offer children the best opportunity for success in elementary school and throughout life.

In response to the paper’s question about her focus on early intervention, Dr. Falwell notes, “All children learn and grow at different rates. These first five years of a child’s life are filled with major developmental milestones that prepare them for lifelong learning.” She refers to research which shows that 90 percent of a child’s brain is developed by age 5.

Research also confirms that getting help early can lead to the best outcomes for kids. Developmental, learning, behavioral and social-emotional issues are estimated to affect one in every six children. Because these issues are often very subtle in young children, only 20 to 30 percent are identified as needing help before kindergarten.

The article described Keystone’s new Right from the Start Clinic designed to help parents know whether their baby would benefit from early intervention to solve or alleviate any issues before they become problematic. The Right from the Start clinic is a free screening clinic for children between the ages of one month and 5-1/2 years old. Parents can complete a free questionnaire online by clicking on the ASQ logo on our website. The questionnaire gives Keystone therapists an idea of areas of a child’s development that are of concern to the child’s parents. A client care coordinator contacts the parents after the clinic receives their completed survey and invites them to visit Keystone for a free multidisciplinary screening evaluation to assess their child’s developmental progress. Parents will meet with clinicians from Keystone’s psychology, occupational therapy and speech language departments, as well as a pediatrician. At the end of the visit, they will receive information on how their child is doing developmentally, with suggestions to target any areas of need that have been identified.

Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, located in Jacksonville, Duval County, northeast Florida, offers integrated healthcare by a collaborative, interdisciplinary team of 130 child psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, behavior analysts and technicians, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, teachers, and pediatrician working in 17 specialized clinics. The focus is on early intervention regarding health and wellness, the whole child and all issues that affect a child’s potential for success including physical, developmental, learning, behavioral and social-emotional issues.

Keystone works with children from one month old to 22 years old on all types of behavioral, developmental, socio-emotional, physical and learning issues in four types of clinics: assessment clinics (Neuropsychological, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Health and Wellness and Educational and Learning), developmental clinics (Autism and Developmental, Right from the Start, Early Intervention and Day Treatment); Rehabilitative Clinics (Feeding, Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language); and Treatment Clinics (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), Disruptive Behavior and Mood).

Keystone Child Development Center offers safe, nurturing and stimulating preschool and early intervention services from infancy through kindergarten. We have a minimum of two teachers in each classroom and a child development team that works with the teachers to focus on intellectual, social and behavioral success for each child. With maximum class sizes of 12, KCDC is able to create individualized learning plans.

Keystone’s preschool offers Enrichment Membership Program

Keystone Child Development Center’s Enrichment Membership Program provides a variety of fun and educational classes for kids, in one location, for one all-inclusive price! Enrollment is open to community children, in addition to students of KCDC.

Before- and After-School Program open to all Community Children beginning Aug. 22, 2016

All children, three to eight years old, can pick and choose a variety of experiences as they explore a wide variety of classes. The KCDC Enrichment Membership Program is an unbeatable package and provides teachable moments for all children. The purpose of these classes is to enhance “the whole child,” including health and wellness, creativity, social skills, manners and much more!

Examples of Enrichment Classes that may be offered at various times throughout the year:

  • Picasso Painters – All children are artists! Become transformed into miniature Picassos. All types of media will be explored to encourage self-expression and creativity with every lesson.
  • Making Music – In an atmosphere of joy through singing, playing instruments and games and enjoying storytelling. Unleash your creativity and embrace fun through the arts.
  • Tiny Dancers – Through movement, music, games and choreography, get a healthy amount of exercise, express yourself and have a blast!
  • Keystone Yogis – Go on an adventure as you get to explore kid friendly yoga movements. Release energy in healthy, natural ways. Strengthen your body while trying new movements, such as balancing, handstands and finding stillness at the end of an energy-filled class.
  • Se Habla Español – Through games, songs, stories and movements, learn the basics of Spanish as a second language while building confidence and having fun learning.
  • Mad Scientists – The best way to learn is through experiments! Fun, easy and educational experiments (even a few messy mixtures) that will fascinate the young mind.
  • Nature Lovers – Explore the outdoors through nature walks, nature talks and ways to save the environment. Learn the importance of getting outside and being one with nature.
  • Creative Cooks – Calling all little chefs! Have a blast mixing and measuring while creating kid friendly yummy bites. Learn about mealtime manners and surprise mom and dad! This is a peanut free class.
  • Cardio Lovers – Get your body movin’ and groovin’ in the high energy class. It’s good healthy fun when you jump, skip and run!
  • Dog Care and Etiquette – Pamper your pet by learning how to feed, walk and groom your dog, as well as how to approach strange dogs in terms of petting and playing with them.
  • Computer Lab – Experiment with various software and learn keyboarding, 3D design printing, digital special effects and more!

Monthly membership fee:  

$110 includes UNLIMITED CLASSES for the month and renews monthly

Sibling discount: $25

Classes are offered before and after school at regularly scheduled times.

You and your child can pick and choose a variety of experiences by downloading and using the free MINDBODY app on your iPad or iPhone or Android cell phone. To learn how to enroll online via your computer or iPhone, Android or iPad, click here!

Contact rbowersox@keystonebehavioral.com or Rebecca Bowersox, Director of Admissions, 904.619.6071, Ext. 117, for more information and/or to enroll your child.

Keystone Child Development Center, a program of Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, is the area’s premier early learning and child development center for children from infancy through kindergarten. The center focuses on individualized instruction with a low student-to-teacher ratio designed to prepare children for success in elementary school and beyond. KCDC will offer classes for the following age groups this fall: Infants and 1’s, Preschool for 2’s and 3’s, Pre-K/VPK (VPK-endorsed by DCF) for 4-year-olds and up to two years of kindergarten. An Early Intervention class is also offered, as well as before- and after-care services.

 

 

Children benefit from predictable and balanced summer schedule

Yay, it’s summertime! No school and time for fun things. It’s great for kids to have a change from the norm; however, a fairly predictable schedule and activities are great too. Although some kids and teens are fine without any kind of schedule being given to them, children with developmental delays, behavioral challenges and special needs such as ADHD and autism spectrum disorder require support and behavior management that provides them a predictable set of things to do without having to stir up their own excitement. The following is a list of ways to do that.

First, keep consistent morning and evening routines. Parents can decide on their own if they want to have a later bedtime overall and what they want to include in the routine (brushing teeth, showers, etc.) That said, toddlers and young children will have better rest and go along better with wake-up/go-to-bed routines if they are consistent, such as regular wake and sleep times, regular hygiene schedules and a regular set of things to do as they are going to bed and waking up.

Consistent feeding schedules often keep kids’ moods more balanced. With all of the busy activities in which people get involved, it can be hard at times to keep feeding and/or snack times within 30-45 minutes of their normal routine. This doesn’t have to be overly restrictive though; it just takes planning. For example, parents and caregivers don’t have to totally abandon a trip to the zoo if they are going to be away from home during a meal or snack time. However, the zoo trip may go a lot better if parents pack a snack or box lunch and then take a quick break at the zoo during their child’s regular feeding time.

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Practicing mastered skills during the summer, such as reading, helps your child transition more smoothly back to school.

Summertime may include academic time. Most children lose some skills over the summer if they don’t practice, which means more frustration for everyone in August. Parents don’t have to go above and beyond to teach new skills, but even practicing mastered skills that are relevant to their child’s academic and developmental level will contribute to a smoother transition back to school.

If you haven’t already received a packet of summer academics from your child’s teacher, it’s still possible to practice. Parents can choose as few as one to three activities or worksheets a day in the areas of reading, writing and math. Appropriate grade level workbooks are available at bookstores or online with suggested materials, although there are also websites with readily available—and free—online resources. Academics are often best done in the morning, when children have better attention.

Active kids are going to need an outlet for their energy. Since parents often have to provide supervision, it can be a challenge to be on the go all the time. One simple formula is to alternate active times (even as little as 15-30 minutes) with times spent indoors or concentrating. That way, kids get to expend energy, and parents don’t have to deal with extra mischief that comes from kids trying to find a thrill if they’re kept indoors all morning or all afternoon. Active time can be in a park, in an indoor playground or other appropriate places.

Finally, predictability does not have to be boring. Parents can plan for variety within a routine. For instance, there can be some kind of museum trip every Tuesday afternoon that changes each week or some kind of different cooking activity on Wednesdays. Alternatively, there could be a daily academic time at 10 or 10:30 a.m. and recess planned at 11 a.m. each day in a variety of places.

Some local offerings this summer are:

  • Cinemark Tinseltown’s Summer Movie Clubhouse with 10 films for kids at $1 per show or $5 for all 10 movies
  • AMC Regency 24’s Sensory Friendly Movies four times a month with more light and lower volume, and with kids able to get up and move about
  • The Museum of Science and History’s Little Learners preschool group the second Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. (visitors can see exhibits any time)
  • The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens’ Florida Blue Free Tuesdays and Art for Two classes for you and your child each month on the second and third Saturday (first come, first in—sign-up starts at 4 p.m.; classes start at 5 p.m.) (and, The Cummer is fun any time plus it has a large garden outside)
  • Your neighborhood public library’s Epic Summer Program full of activities for children of all ages through July (and parents can take a trip with their children anytime they like to get books to read there or to take home).

By Andrew Scherbarth, Ph.D., BCBA-D, licensed child psychologist

Published on page 8, June/July issue, Jax4Kids.com

Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics offers integrated healthcare by a team of highly educated child psychologists, behavior therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language therapists, feeding therapists and a medical director who lead the 120-person staff in collaborating to bring the best resources for addressing behavioral, developmental and physical issues in children. It offers one stop services to parents plus collaboration is the most effective way to address interactive issues that children often have. In addition to pediatric occupational therapy, child behavior therapy including applied behavior analysis, pediatric speech therapy, Keystone Child Development Center, located in Southpoint Office Park is the area’s premier early learning and child development center, providing day care and education to all children, 3 months through kindergarten, in four levels – Infants and Walkers, Preschool, Pre-K/VPK (state-endorsed free VPK for 4- and 5-year-olds) and Kindergarten.

Celebrate children with autism through Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness 2016

Join Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics in bringing awareness to children in Jacksonville, Florida, and surrounding Northeast Florida areas, who have autism by sharing information out about Light It Up Blue on April 2 through your social media and wearing blue on Saturday, April 2. Keystone will be wearing blue on Friday, April 1, too, so that we can celebrate the occasion as a company!

VPK program 2016-17 registration begins for 4-year-olds

 

You can now register your child for Keystone Child Development Center’s (KCDC) free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program at https://familyservices.floridaearlylearning.com/. KCDC serves both typically developing children and children with special needs, from 18 months through first grade. Children with needing help with behavioral issues and learning challenges benefit from Keystone Behavioral Pediatric’s comprehensive team including a pediatrician, licensed clinical psychologists, board certified behavior analysts, master’s level clinicians and occupational therapists that provide behavior therapy as well as occupational, speech/language and feeding therapy to toddlers and all ages of children for ADHD, autism. The team works collaboratively in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of a broad range of developmental, behavioral, learning and genetic disorders in children and adolescents (birth to 22 years of age).

KCDC classrooms use an inclusive model. This type of classroom gives special education students the support they need while they learn alongside their general education peers. General education students benefit from the additional resources and supportive techniques used in an inclusion classroom.

The program is designed to prepare children for school with specialized VPK standards implemented within all lesson plans. The multi-age classroom setting allows younger students to learn from their older, more experienced peers, while giving older students the opportunity to lead and support their younger peers.

To be eligible for Keystone’s free pediatric VPK program, children must reside in Florida and have been born between 9/2/2011 and 9/1/2012.

To register, you will need:

  • Access to the internet and a scanner
  • Child’s Social Security Number
  • One proof of current residency (driver’s license, utility bill or pay stub)
  • One proof of age (birth certificate, passport or military ID)
  • Shot records cannot be accepted

How to register:

  • Set up a working email address.
  • Log on to VPKDuval.org to complete the online VPK application.
  • Separately scan and submit required supporting documents in PDF format:
    • Current proof of residency (see above)
    • Current proof of age (see above)
  • Once application and documentation has been reviewed and approved by ELC, a certificate will be emailed to families.

You can learn more about KCDC’s VPK classroom and the other classrooms and programs it offers by visiting online and touring in person by contacting Paige Norton at 904.619.6071 for an appointment.

Keystone’s VPK program earns perfect inspection by DCF

Keystone Child Development Center’s Pre-K/VPK program for 3½- to 5-year old children offers individualized instruction to prepare both children with special needs and also those typically developing for its kindergarten program, which is a one- to two-year program designed to fit the individual needs of each student. The Florida Department of Children & Families (DCF) monitors KCDC’s facilities because the center offers a free voluntary prekindergarten program, which is funded by the state.

Under new KS48-croppedmanagement by Ashley Kiser, M.S., BCBA, director of early childhood services, and Greta Hernandez, RBT, assistant director of early childhood services, the KCDC facility has been 100 percent compliant in the past four quarterly inspections.

The Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program (VPK) provides 4-year-old children who reside in Florida and were born on or before Sept. 1 each year with an opportunity to attend quality preschools such as KCDC for free, to enable them to receive age-appropriate curricula with a strong emphasis on early literacy skills, accountability, manageable class sizes and qualified instructors. The Florida VPK program supports Keystone’s emphasis on the importance of a child’s early years in learning to be attentive and to follow directions.

KCDC supports the philosophy that the most important growth and development in the brain happens by the age of five. Structured early learning fosters these abilities for later success in school and in life. In addition, KCDC’s Pre-K/VPK program uses a multi-age classroom setting, which allows younger students to learn from their older, more experienced peers while giving older students the opportunity to lead and support their younger peers.

KCDC uses the “Making Friends, Pre-K – 3: A Social Skills Program for Inclusive Settings” (Second Edition) curriculum. Students enjoy structured and unstructured social activities while reaping the benefits of weekly themes and lessons.

As a department within Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics, KCDC offers its children services offered by other Keystone departments, such as onsite medical care including a pediatrician and nurse/ psychological assessment; applied behavior analysis (ABA); early identification and intervention of developmental delays and behavioral challenges; and feeding, speech and occupational therapy.

To learn more, arrange a visit or apply, visit Keystone’s website or contact info@keystonebehavioral.com, 904.619.6071.

 

KBP participates in walk to support the Early Learning Coalition

Keystone encourages everyone to register for this event – http://goo.gl/rdQcQt – to raise funds that support ELC’s VPK program. Keystone Child Development Center is VPK-accredited.

Let’s show that we’re Keystone Team strong!

Gather at the corner of Riverside Ave. and Forest St., Unity Plaza, on Saturday, Aug. 8, before the 5K race begins at 8 a.m. Wear a T-shirt in one of the Keystone pinwheel colors.

A 1-mile Fun Run at 9 a.m. and Children’s Festival immediately following the race and run make the event kid-friendly!

Grant funds new sensory garden

Keystone Behavioral Services has broken ground on a new sensory garden, with a grant it was awarded March 2015 from the HEAL Foundation. The garden is the vision of Sam Bean, MOTR/L, assistant director of Keystone’s Occupational Therapy Department, and Dawn Berg, BCaBA, director of the Feeding Disorders Department, who wanted an outdoor space for the children and community that would enhance learning and therapy.

Staff has been busy clearing the land and building retaining walls for the new Keystone Sensory Garden.
Staff has been busy clearing the land and building retaining walls for the new Keystone Sensory Garden.

Staff volunteers have begun clearing land and building retaining walls. Next the staff will prepare the soil and choose plants that will appeal to all five senses. The goal is to have Keystone Sensory Garden planted and growing sometime this summer to offer a richer and more therapeutic experience to children with special needs.

“A sensory garden offers the children we serve many benefits,” Berg. “The children take pride in their work and gain a sense of responsibility, plus working in the garden helps reduce stress, anxiety and frustration. It’s a natural learning environment,” she said.

The garden enhances math, science, health, writing/language arts and social studies concepts taught in Keystone Child Development Center and Keystone Academy students.

It also offers therapeutic value for all children served by Keystone Behavioral Services, many of whom face behavioral challenges such as ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, speech/language disorders, Down Syndrome, feeding disorders, or brain injury, for example.

“The children have been very curious about the garden,” Bean said. “Their education has been inside and in a relatively sterile environment, so we’re all very excited that they will be able to interact with nature and learn outside.”

“In addition to improving fine and gross motor skills, working in the garden encourages communication and increases social skills. One student even went out of his way to thank the volunteers for helping in the garden,” Bean said.

Four types of plants will be included in the Keystone Sensory Garden: tactile plants such as Touch Me Not with leaves that fold inward and droop when touched or shaken and Lamb’s Ear with a silvery grey foliage that is soft and fuzzy; olfactory plants such as rosemary and cilantro; visual plants such as hibiscus and coleus; and gustatory plants such as lemons and peppers. Staff hopes to add special features such as wind chimes, a birdhouse, hummingbird feeder and a water feature.

The concept of a sensory garden is based on clinical research. One article, “Gardening as therapy for children with behavioral disorders” written by Marilyn McGinnis, BSN, RN, and published in the Vol. 2, Issue 3, pages 87-91, September 1989 issue of Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, reports that in addition to the physical benefits the children received from the garden, they also were able to discuss “feelings of fear, sadness, abandonment and pride, as well as family issues” (91).