Providing tots with social, educational advantages
By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- Swings and slides, shapes and songs, The Tot Spot of Vero Beach is a great place for kids to play and learn.
The licensed childcare provider provides care for children as young as six weeks through five years old, said Charlene Schlitt, director.
The Tot Spot is also a voluntary prekindergarten provider, and enrollment is currently underway for the 2013-14 year.
The VPK program is state-funded and every child that will be four years old by Sept. 1 of this year will be eligible to participate, Ms. Schlitt said.
"It's a great way to get the children prepared and ready for kindergarten," she said.
Prior to enrolling at a VPK provider, parents or guardians must contact the Early Learning Coalition for registration information.
At The Tot Spot, the VPK class is taught by Teri Tennant, who has more than 15 years of experience.
The classroom is colorful and full of educational tools that double as fun toys for the children to use.
"Technology is also a learning component of the class, and children take turns accomplishing various tasks on the computer under adult supervision," Ms. Tennant said. "It's a wonderful experience for the children socially and educationally. We have been doing this since we opened four years ago. We've had great success with the students."
Within the first 30 days of a child attending kindergarten, the child is evaluated for their performance and the outcome of their performance is reported back to the VPK provider, Ms. Schlitt said.
The childcare facility itself is away from a main road and the air isn't filled with the sound of traffic.
"We're tucked away nicely back here, and we have no through traffic since we are at the end of the road," Ms. Schlitt said.
One unique aspect of The Tot Spot is the base playground material for both the toddler and the preschool playground.
"The whole playground is Astro-turf," Ms. Schlitt said. "Not only does it get rid of bugs, but you also don't have to worry about grass stains, or sand or mulch in their shoes."
At The Tot Spot, children learn to interact with other children, communicate, share and play together.
"Not only to they receive the loving, nurturing care from our staff, but they also have a basic curriculum that helps prepare them for school," she said.
Each of the classrooms is monitored with security cameras and the rooms and play areas for the children older than infants are kept secure with child-proof gates.
"We're a small facility, which always works to the child's advantage, and all my teachers really enjoy their job," Ms. Schlitt said.
Facility hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Full-time or part-time enrollment are available. Pricing is available online or by calling the main office.
The Tot Spot of Vero Beach is located at 2047 47th St., Vero Beach. For more information, call (772) 562-7703 or go to www.thetotspotofvero.com