Helemano offers additional military child care options

| May 21, 2010 | 0 Comments

Laura Bratcher
Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation

Lyric Stevens practices writing numbers on a chalkboard at the Helemano Child Development Center. (Melvin Castro | Helemano Military Reservation)HELEMANO MILITARY RESERVATION — Along a peaceful five-mile drive from Schofield Barracks, among the pineapple fields on the road to North Shore, are two child care resources many may not be aware of: the Helemano Military Reservation Child Development Center and the School Age Center. 

These centers, with their friendly staff and homelike environment, provide a home-away-from-home for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old, where children happily play with toys, read books, paint pictures or nap in bright, clean rooms with a relaxed, cheerful atmosphere. 

Most of the patrons are from HMR, but, as Sheena Cooper, acting facility director said, they want people to know the centers are here and available in addition to child care on Schofield Barracks.  

The caregivers at HMR have the same training as those at larger Child, Youth and School Services facilities, and offer the same programs. 

“We have a lot of great staff here,” said Melvin Castro, lead part-day preschool teacher. “Because we are out here in the pineapple fields and away from the hustle and bustle of Schofield Barracks, a lot of parents don’t know we’re here. Our programs are the same, but we’re a smaller, quieter community.” 

The program the HMR staff is particularly proud of is the Strong Beginnings preschool program for children 3-5 years of age. Classes are taught as a group, but the curriculum and activities become more challenging as children develop mentally. 

As a child gets closer to kindergarten, he or she participates in the Start Smart program, a physical fitness and nutrition class that helps prepare kids for sports and physical education.  

“The teachers are very talented, dedicated people who do a wonderful job teaching the environment, science and math in preschool,” said Betty Moreno, a training and curriculum specialist who has been with CYSS since 2000. “The children are already writing their letters, and parents are very pleased with what the kids have learned.” 

The Helemano School Age Center provides before- and after-school care, as well as full-day care during school holidays, breaks or Furlough Fridays for children 6-12 years old. 

The Center is affiliated with 4-H and the Boys and Girls Club, and has a homework teacher available to help with schoolwork in the afternoons. 

To encourage participation in the homework lab, there is an incentive program where the children can earn points during the week to earn privileges on Fridays such as a game day. 

The facility can accept up to 45 kids, although the participation usually stays around 24. 

“We are smaller, so we can do a lot of things that bigger centers can’t do, especially when it comes to field trips,” Cooper said. 

For example, kids at HMR’s School Age Center have tried surf lessons, stand-up paddleboarding and horseback riding.  

The Helemano CDC has 111 spaces and provides care for children from 6 weeks to 5 years old. Full-day care is offered for infants, toddlers and preschool children, and part-day or hourly care is available for preschool age children. 

Category: Community

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