Pebbles Preschool Camp bridges the summer gap

June 6th, 2010    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: Community

Summer camp isn’t just for school-aged children. Stepping Stones Center’s new Pebbles Day Camp for Preschoolers offers summer camp fun in a structured program designed for preschoolers age 3 – 5. Stepping Stones is a United Way partner agency serving children and adults with disabilities for 47 years.

The Pebbles camp is designed for children with and without disabilities and follows the Stepping Stones tradition of filling gaps in services for families dealing with disabilities.

Diamond Hodge at Stepping Stones
"When school-year preschools close, the need for structured learning and interaction with other children doesn't end," said Stepping Stones Program Director Sam Browne. "Extending that school year learning is especially critical for children with disabilities," she said.

"Pebbles Day Camp for Preschoolers combines the benefits of preschool and the fun of summer camp."

The Pebbles camp at the Stepping Stones Given site on Given Road in Indian Hill includes swimming, nature activities, fine and gross motor activities, arts and crafts, sensory activities and music activities.

The program is open to children with autism, developmental delays, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other physical, mental or behavioral disabilities as well as typical children.

A nurse is on site and can administer medications and deal with tube feedings or other needs.

The new Pebbles program is filling quickly, but as of the end of May there were still openings in the Tuesday-Thursday slots, Browne said. Stepping Stones' year-round preschool at the Stepping Stones Allyn site at Camp Allyn in Batavia also accepts summer-only enrollments to serve families whose other preschools close in the summer.

Marvea Moran's daughter, Diamond Hodge, 4, will be part of the Pebbles program this summer. She is a veteran of Stepping Stones' year-round preschool.

"Based on the way she was cared for and her learning experiences and her interaction with other children, I want to send her to the Pebbles Camp," said Moran, of Pleasant Ridge.

Diamond has Down syndrome.

"I'm really impressed with the Stepping Stones program and the staff. They gave her the opportunity to get out and function like other kids do. She's in a regular school this year, but that closes in the summer. She needs to continue to have that structure and interaction," said Moran. "She's too young for other camp programs. And she needs special attention."

The Pebbles camp was formed after Stepping Stones restructured its preschool program last year, centering the Stepping Stones year-round preschool at the Stepping Stones Allyn site at Camp Allyn in Batavia, and creating a summer-only program at the Stepping Stones Given site in Indian Hill.

The summer Pebbles Day Camp meets preschoolers' needs in a day camp atmosphere including outdoor activities in a specialized playground, crafts, games and camp-style programming.

Dena Etter's daughter, Ally, will be a Pebble this summer. She has developmental delays and started a school-based preschool when she turned 3 in January.

"She's made so much progress in five months. I hated for her to lose that momentum when school closes for the summer," said Etter of Loveland. "Her speech has improved. Her social skills have improved. It's very important for her to be able to continue that routine. No matter what I do, it's not the same as her being there with all the kids."

Pebbles Day Camp runs 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday on the Stepping Stones Center Given campus at 5650 Given Road, Indian Hill. Camp runs from June 14 through Aug. 13.

Registration for Pebbles Day Camp for Preschoolers is $45 per day. Children can register for two, three or five days a week.

Stepping Stones' year-round preschool program in Batavia also is accepting summer enrollees as well as year-round students.

Application and registration forms are available at www.steppingstonescenter.org or (513) 831-4660 ext. 11.
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