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’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.

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.

Regular routines improve kids’ behavior, success in school

Routines are important behavior therapy, not only for toddlers, but throughout the preteen and teenage years. Whether your child is typically developing or one with special needs, bedtime routine is especially helpful in preventing bedtime struggles. It also helps ensure that your child goes to sleep at a regular time each night, which increases the chances that she will have a great start to the next day of preschool.

One effective way to end a bedtime routine is with a scheduled book reading time. Set aside 20 to 30 minutes each night to pick out, read and discuss books with your child. Electronics should be off during this time, and, to create a calming effect, bedroom lighting should be only as bright as needed for reading.

Here are some tips for integrating book time into your child’s bedtime routine:

  • Make sure the book reading environment is calm and comfortable.
  • Ask your child to point out or tell you which pictures or words he enjoyed during the story.
  • Reinforce your child’s comments or questions during the story reading by delivering behavior-specific praise with enthusiasm (e.g., “I love the way you pointed out that you liked the yellow umbrella that Sally is holding on that page!”)
  • Ask your child questions from each page, such as, “Can you touch all the things that fly in this picture?” or “Point to all the orange things on this page.”
  • Research libraries close by that conduct book readings for children and schedule those into your week.
  • Make library time fun and exciting by allowing your child to pick out books in which he is interested.

Happy reading!

—by Ashley Kiser, M.S., BCBA, Director, Keystone Child Development Center

Keystone named one of Jacksonville’s top 50 fastest-growing companies

Jacksonville Business Journal recently named Keystone to its Fast 50 list of the 50 fastest-growing companies in northeast Florida. By expanding based on need and stabilizing as necessary to remain financially sound, Keystone has steadily grown since its founding in 2008 as a small pediatric mental health behavior clinic.

In focusing on an integrated whole-child approach to assessment and treatment, Keystone quickly began to recognize the need for a school for special needs students who cannot function in a public school setting and who would benefit from having ready access to their behavioral therapists during the school day. As a result, in 2010, Keystone Academy was added as a special needs school for kindergarten through grade 12.

As more children and their families continued to come to Keystone for services, the clinic began seeing children with rehabilitative needs, with or without mental health/behavioral issues. Therapists were added to staff departments in occupational, feeding and speech and language with the goal of becoming truly interdisciplinary – one stop for services – to make it more convenient for families and less overwhelming to obtain services.

Keystone knows that early intervention is the key to successfully changing behaviors, so in 2013 Keystone Child Development Center was added to serve children 18 months through kindergarten. The center is VPK endorsed. In response to discovering that some children enrolled in the VPK program would benefit by having an extra year of kindergarten before transitioning to regular school, Keystone opened a one- or two- year kindergarten program this fall.

This summer Keystone transitioned Keystone Academy to Mainspring Academy, to enable it to grow as a separate, nonprofit, private, special needs school. Keystone therapists remain the primary providers of behavioral services for Mainspring Academy students, often working alongside academic teachers in the classroom, in addition to providing additional services after school.

In planning for the future, Keystone is adding more certified or credentialed staff because there is more need in the area than services available to meet the need. Keystone is focusing on making preschools and all public and private school in north Florida and south Georgia aware that it is available to train their staff on how to recognize and manage behavioral issues in the classroom.

Dr. Katherine Falwell, founder and CEO, continues to lead Keystone on its path to serving both typically developing children and children with special needs. While she was a professor and post-doc at the University of Florida, she became aware of the need for more pediatric behavioral services in general, and Jacksonville, as a large metro area, seemed a logical place to open a practice. The number of institutions of higher education in and near Jacksonville is a tremendous benefit to a growing practice like Keystone. The clinic regularly engages interns and practicum students majoring in psychology.

Keystone’s commitment to charitable organizations that relate to the developmental issues that its children face has helped it grow as well. For example, staff and families participate in annual runs and walks hosted by organizations such as the Early Learning Coalition, Walk Now for Autism Speaks, North Florida Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Jax4Kids, March for Babies – First Coast, HEAL Foundation and Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville. These organizations work hard to raise money that goes towards improving and supporting services such as the ones Keystone provides and engaging and informing families with special needs children.

Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics is a full-service, outpatient clinic providing individual- and family-based services to both typically developing children and those with special needs from birth to 22 years of age. Keystone emphasizes an integrated whole-child approach to assessment and treatment. Treatment commonly involves new skill acquisition through evidence-based behavioral programming strategies to promote positive behaviors and to decrease problematic actions.

 

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!