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Tendertots opens in Norwood

Bronx Times

State-of-the-art, high-quality childcare is being promised with the opening of TenderTots Child Care Center in Norwood.

The center is located at Decatur Terrace, a 122-unit affordable housing complex that opened at 3322 Decatur Avenue in January 2011. It has 14 classrooms and will service 120 children, said educational director Michelle D’Avanzo.

A ribbon cutting for the new facility was held outside of its ground-level offices and classrooms on Wednesday, January 4. The center accepts newborn infants from about six weeks and children up until they are ready for kindergarten, D’Avanzo stated. It is her hope that the facility will give children who attend an edge when they enter kindergarten, she said.

“I would like to see the children learn how to share, be in an encouraging environment, and go into kindergarten well-prepared,” D’Avanzo said.

All teachers of pre-kindergarten and of the children in the day-care program are required to either be pursuing a masters degree in Education or already have one, D’Avanzo stated. For care of the infants, experience is more of a prerequisite, and lesson plans are still required weekly, D’Avanzo stated.

The child care center will blend together more traditional structured activities for children with those that are guided by what is happening in the students lives and in the classroom, D’Avanzo sated. The curriculum is designed to have the young people learn in fun ways instead of through rote learning, she said.

“My philosophy is that children learn through play,” D’Avanzo stated. “I believe that it is through hands-on experiences that the children will learn.”

Higher quality childcare is needed in Norwood, said Community Board 7 district manager Fernando Tirado.

“I want to thank the owners of TenderTots and the teachers and staff for bringing what will be high-quality childcare to our community, where it is badly needed,” Tirado said.

The center stands in stark contrast to many of the other facilities for day-care and pre-kindergarten in the community, many of which are run out of homes converted into child-care centers, said TenderTots assistant administrator Ruth Montalvo.

“A lot of programs in the community also don’t take infants, but we will take them from about six weeks,” Montalvo stated.

Opening a childcare center in Norwood fits with the mission of Tendertots, said Sterling Education Group executive vice president Steve Tress, representing the owners.

“We have been targeting under-served neighborhoods that have a need for highquality child care, and have done demographic studies that show that some areas of the Bronx don’t have high-quality child care, or enough care,” Tress stated. “We want to provide the same level of care that any child in a middle-class neighborhood would receive.”

Later in the spring, Tendertots will be opening another location at 531 E. 137th Street, Tress stated. At the Decatur Avenue location, special education services are provided in house, and breakfast and lunch are served every day, Tress stated.

Occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy are also provided in house, and all forms of government assistance are accepted, Tress said.

For more information about Tendertots, call (646) 481-3067. Visit them online at www.TenderTotsNY.com.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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