Each school has its own special focus, yet all are rooted in ABC’s
commitment to the principle that every child is entitled to the best
possible start – one that is full of happiness, accomplishment and love.
ABC’s schools celebrate children in all their exquisite diversity by
appreciating their unique contributions, encouraging their optimum
development, honoring their shared humanity and treasuring their
ABC’s unique approach extends well beyond the individual child to
embrace the whole family by providing the supportive services that each
family member needs. Parents are integral to their children’s success,
treasured partners in all of ABC’s programs.
Merricat's Castle School
In Merricat’s Castle School’s three beautiful and lively
classrooms, preschoolers learn academic skills as well as the lessons of
patience, kindness and caring. Typically developing children and
children with special needs are cherished and grow together in a
nurturing setting where the process of learning is an adventure in
acquiring social, intellectual, emotional, creative and physical skills.
A special education staff coordinates medical, psychological and
language services, and families enjoy parent workshops, counseling and a
close involvement in the life of the Merricat’s community.
A beautiful playground encourages children to enjoy safe, outdoor
play throughout the school year. ABC’s Merricat’s Castle first broke new
ground for disabled children by successfully advocating in the courts
for a mainstreaming policy that would fund the inclusion of children
with special needs in preschool programs. And by also championing its
inclusive paradigm, Merricat’s has become
national model for preschool inclusion. The combined success of its
advocacy and its design has paved the way for widespread change.
Visit the Merricat's
Castle School Website
At Cassidy’s Place, named for Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford’s
daughter, preschoolers who live in poverty and suffer from severe
disabilities, serious medical conditions and have significant special
needs develop, play and learn in nine dynamic and inviting classrooms.
Children, who might otherwise be unable to attend school, enjoy an
enriched curriculum and the special therapies that help them achieve
their highest potential.
Blending Head Start, preschool special education and
Universal Pre-Kindergarten, Cassidy’s Place provides a full
day that is further augmented with comprehensive and
seamlessly integrated support services for each child and
each family member.
A glorious backyard playground affords the children daily
opportunities for outdoor play. Through ABC’s Parent
Council, parents are directly involved in their children’s
Parents also participate in parent-child activities,
discussion groups and skills workshops and take a leadership
role at this very special preschool.
Cody Gifford House
Named for Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford’s son, Cody Gifford House focuses early intervention
services on infants and
toddlers who live in poverty and struggle with severe developmental
disabilities and delays and serious medical conditions.
Children from birth to three learn, play, and
flourish together, in beautiful and vibrant classrooms and therapy rooms
with their nurturing, attentive instructors. All children receive high
quality, enriching, care; individually designed and developmentally
appropriate instruction, including physical therapies, occupational
therapies, speech therapies, specialized play therapy; and related
services, including parent-child groups, parent training, family
support, counseling. The lessons and impact of the classrooms are also
brought directly into the home through home-based early intervention
services, which are offered to families in the community.
Behind this charming brownstone is a serene haven for
families and a beautiful new playspace for children, The Heckscher/Friends
Here also, a memorial garden honors ABC’s children.
Interview with Kathie
Lee Gifford (PDF)
The Keith Haring School
The Keith Haring School is located at ABC’s
Supportive Housing Program for formerly homeless
families with HIV and AIDS. Adorned with Keith Haring’s
colorful and joyous silhouettes, this therapeutic nursery
school offers early intervention services for the residents’
young children as well as for children from the community.
Keith Haring School’s warm, positive staff members provide
high-quality, individually designed special instruction,
occupational therapies, physical therapies, speech
therapies, and mental health counseling to infants and
toddlers with special needs, prioritizing the formerly
homeless families with HIV/AIDS living in ABC’s supportive
housing program, children with HIV/AIDS, and children from
families affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition to receiving
personalized care, children with different developmental and
cognitive delays and disabilities learn and play together,
as well as with their nurturing, attentive instructors, in a
group-based modality that facilitates learning. By
cultivating parent engagement and offering critical support,
caregivers and families feel empowered to become their
children’s best advocates; learn to encourage their own
children’s growth and development; and acquire the
techniques and methods that help facilitate a therapeutic
home environment as well. At the Keith Haring School, all
children are encouraged to play, laugh, explore, and
Graham School at Echo Park
The Graham School, which nurtures and educates infants,
toddlers and preschoolers through Head Start, Special Education, and
Early Head Start programs, is located at Echo Park, ABC’s multi-service
center for children and families. Children at the Graham School gain greatly from the
comprehensive array of services that are available on-site
and can “wrap around” to strengthen each child’s family.
They include a children’s mental health clinic, an after
school and weekend educational, recreational and mentoring
program, preventive services, therapeutic groups for
children in crisis, parent support groups and employment
the Graham School, children play, learn
and delight in ten beautiful classrooms that reflect the vigor
and promise of its young students. Healthy, delicious meals
and snacks are prepared daily. A comfortable and well
stocked young children’s library and reading room and a
technology center further augment the curriculum, while the
Echo Park Rooftop Playground ensures the children a safe and
exhilarating space to play. Home-based Early Head Start
brings the philosophy and high-quality care of onsite
services to families in the