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UCP of Maine education program opens new classroom

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UCP of Maine education program opens new classroom (photo courtesy UCP)

BANGOR - UCP of Maine’s early childhood education program, Bridges, has announced that they have opened a brand-new, sensory friendly classroom known as the Alphabet Garden.

The Alphabet Garden has several features that will help serve children with a variety of sensory needs. Replaced fluorescent lights in the classroom with smaller, dimmable overhead lights were installed, so that the sensory input is decreased in several ways – no flickering, no super bright lights, no buzzing. New variety of seating options, so children can find what works best for them individually – beanbags, wobble stools, wooden chairs, or plastic chairs. The room has large a sensory table that can have a variety of materials rotated in and out to provide different feedback to the students, from water to sand to seeds. The class size is smaller to help decrease noise and movement. Lastly, cool paint colors (green and light purple) were chosen to help the calming atmosphere while still providing a friendly, inviting classroom environment.

“Approximately two-thirds of the clients in the Bridges program have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Andrea Richards, Director of Early Childhood Services for UCP of Maine. “Many of these students can benefit from having an environment that is mindful of their needs – not too loud, not too bright, not forced into one type of seating. We received grants from The Simmons Foundation, People’s Bank, and Bangor Savings Bank that helped us expand our site and offer services to a whole additional classroom of children. I am so grateful to have the community supporting us as we continue to look for new ways to meet the diverse needs of the kids that come to us looking for a quality education.”

The Bridges program is a center-based education program for toddlers and preschoolers who require individualized support for a variety of reasons, including behavioral, motor, sensory or social needs. The program also has access to a variety of consultants in areas including behavioral, speech and occupational therapy. The children in our program work on all of these needs while participating in age-appropriate activities both with peers and individually, including art, music & movement, outdoor play and circle time, snack and table activities.

For any questions regarding Bridges, our early childhood education program, contact Andrea Richards at 941-2952 ext. 215 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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