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Children's Education Services

Funding Sources
  • NYSED/Migrant Education
  • NYSDAM (Agriculture and Markets)
Under Gloria Mattera's leadership, the Center did not "throw up its hands" but went into action. The Children's Demonstration School, as the name suggests, began as a training laboratory for the teachers of migrant children. Trainers worked with classes of children who were bussed in from outlying camps. They demonstrated approaches that worked. The CDS program emphasized hands-on, individualized instruction. It adapted methods and materials to the realities of migrant children's lives. Day care was also provided for very young children. In 1968, the youngest child was three days old; her mother had to go back to work in the fields.

Project CHILD (Comprehensive Help for Individual Learning Differences) evolved from these beginnings. Project CHILD was an integrated approach to the needs of migrant children and their families, from birth to old age.

Direct educational services to children were most important in the first two decades of the Center's history. The migrant population close to Geneseo was then larger, with many families who had small children with them. African-Americans were in the majority, but the children needing services also came from other ethnic communities: Algonquins from Canada, Latinos, and non-Hispanic Whites.
By the mid-1970's, Project CHILD's direct service components included:
  • the Child Development Center for children from birth to two years of age. Special attention was given to sensory stimulation, self-concept formation, language development, and motor coordination
  • the Children's Demonstration School, a 12-hour daily summer program providing migrant children with classroom instruction adapted to their needs, out-of-class enriching experiences, and three meals a day
  • a Health Program, with physical examinations, dental care, and health education
  • an Aide Training Program for migrant parents and older siblings, working as teacher aides
  • a Weekend Program, providing family activities - field trips, cultural events, and recreation
  • In-Camp Teaching Programs in the evening for working youth and adults
  • Tutorial programs of individualized instruction for children during the regular school year

Robert Coles' classic study Uprooted Children was a searing portrait of the psychological and social costs then (and still) paid by migrant children because of society's neglect. It was echoed in a poster for The Year of the Migrant Child. Photo images from the Geneseo Migrant Center formed the poster's background.
 

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