Beginning and Beyond Child Development Center, on the corner of Person and Cabarrus Streets in Raleigh, has been supporting families by caring for their young children since 2000. The four-star center serves about 120 children. 95% of the students receive tuition subsidies.
Outdoors, Beginning and Beyond features a learning garden with a large raised vegetable garden, a compost area, and many fruiting shrubs. Children enjoy planting, tending, and harvesting fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The outdoor learning environment was enhanced with the creation of a stage for dramatic play and performances and a playhouse. Flowering trees along with shrubs and perennials planted in colorful tire planters help to naturalize and bring beauty to the space. Beginning and Beyond received the City of Raleigh Urban Agriculture Award in 2015 and 2016 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Design & Build for Community Appearance.
1. Renovation of the bathroom
2. Creation of a therapy room
3. Addition of quiet reading areas
4. Staff training and Parent workshops
• Beginning and Beyond
• The Kaleidoscope Project
The primary goal of the partnership with The Kaleidoscope Project for Beginning and Beyond was to nurture children’s mental, social and emotional health, by:
• Improving the building issues that were creating stress, disruption and preventing children from having access to calm, restorative spaces
• Strengthening connections between parents and the school,
• Strengthening relationships between parents and children,
• Equipping parents and staff to build positive relationships with children through play at school and home
The center was concerned about the daily disruption children and teachers experienced in the 4-year-old classroom where the main bathroom for the center was located. All day long, individuals and whole groups of children passed through the classroom to get to the bathroom.
Some children were experiencing a difficult time during morning drop off. Staff expressed the need for a quiet, calming environment to help children transition from home to school. Beginning and Beyond staff also expressed the desire to have a separate space for therapy. Many of the children were receiving various types of therapy in the hallway and in the back of classrooms. A dedicated space would not only provide privacy but a space where children could better focus on therapy.
Build Positive Relationships:
To support the social emotional growth and mental health of the children, The Kaleidoscope Project provided trainings on various topics for staff and parents on topic areas they expressed interest in. Two Family Nights were held with dinner, play for the children, and discussions with parents about their children’s mental health. Staff workshops were:
• Play: It’s All About Relationships
• Challenging Behavior: How to Understand Them; How to Help
• Reflective Practices to Assist Teachers with Challenging Behaviors
• Mentoring and follow-up
Within classrooms, Beginning and Beyond designed spaces that allow for children to sit, read, and engage in quiet activities. Toddler sized furniture, low to the ground bookshelves with appropriate age level books and small tables give children quiet, cozy reading centers, perfect for one child or multiple children to sit, read, and relax.
Foster Safety and Support:
To address the bathroom issue, the location of the bathroom and the storage room were switched. This allowed the restroom to have an entrance door both in the classroom and in the hallway. This way, other students could use the restroom without disrupting the 4-year-old classroom. The old restroom was turned into a storage space with far more room for needed items.
To address the concerns regarding morning transitions and the need for a dedicated therapy space, a room was re-purposed and enlarged to provide new opportunities for the children. Now, children have a quiet space for one on one support with a parent or teacher and therapists have a private place to work with the children receiving therapy services at the center.