Programs at our Willis Avenue Center begin at twelve weeks of age and children have the option to remain with us until the age of five. We have 15 classrooms dedicated to learning and socialization. Our full capacity across all programing is 175 with staff ratios in accordance to OCFS regulations. We also have an R.N. in our Center on a full time basis.
Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 6:45am to 6:00pm. Children in our infant, toddler, and pre-kindergarten programs receive two nutritious meals throughout their day that are prepared on-site and using the highest quality of ingredients. Children with allergies and/or specific dietary needs are accommodated accordingly.
As a community-based organization, we have a responsibility to meet our community’s needs. Through the disbursement of need based scholarships and our contract with Nassau County Department of Social Services, we seek to remove the economic barriers that prevent children from receiving the highest quality of early childhood educational programming that sets the tone for the rest of their academic career.
Lisa Virzera joined Harbor Child Care in 2009 and was recently promoted to Willis Avenue Center Director in May 2017. Lisa started with Harbor Child Care as a Head Toddler Teacher, and was promoted to Administration in 2013. She holds a B.S. in Childhood Education from SUNY Old Westbury, and a M.S. in Early Childhood Education from Queens College.
Her responsibilities includes to ensure full student enrollment for the infant and toddler classrooms, approves educational plans from all infant and toddler rooms, enforcing New York State regulations to approximately 100 students and 50 teachers on a regularly basis.
My son has been at Harbor Mineola since he was 7 months old (he is now 3 1/2). For us the experience just keeps getting better. We have had a really great experience with all of his teachers. They have been loving, affectionate and have helped him learn so much. From day one I had peace of mind that my son is safe and being taken care of by well trained professionals who truly love their babies. I have never heard anyone say that their day care experience has been perfect, but I would say this is as perfect as it can get. the administrators have always been responsive to any concerns and have quickly resolved any issues that may have arisen. I'm so glad we chose Harbor!
As a nervous first time mom, Harbor answered all my questions and helped my little one get acclimated. Now she loves going to daycare. Thank you to all the teachers!
Our daughter started at Harbor Willis Ave when she was four months old; she's three and a half now and loves her "school" and teachers. As parents, we are very happy with Harbor. It's clean, safe, and provides the right amount of structure for the different age levels (infant, toddler, pre-k). The teachers and staff are kind and loving with the children. They greet all the kids by name. The on-site nurse provides peace of mind. Our daughter is our only child and we are grateful for the socialization, exploration, and development that Harbor Willis Ave provides. For example, she had a paint brush in her hand at four months old and is now enjoying yoga and soccer. She loves the gym and playground. To be balanced, there are occasional hiccups (periodic staff changes, somewhat short notice about activities like grandparents day, etc.). For us, these things are minor and we adjust - and we are fortunate that our daughter is easy-going. In terms of the price, in our opinion, you get what you pay for and what you get at Harbor Willis Ave is top quality. We highly recommend it.
My oldest daughter started at Harbor at 6th months old. She is currently in a pre-K class and her sister is in an infant room. I checked out 12 different daycares before choosing Harbor and I have never had any regrets. The teachers are warm and caring. We have been in 4 different classrooms over the years and while all different, I have been happy with all of them. In my experience out of the many teachers (3 in infant classes, 4 in toddler/pre-K) I have only ever disliked one assistant teacher and she was there for a very short time (maybe 2 weeks). The facility is very clean and very safe. These would be deal breakers for me. They have music and yoga classes and recently added soccer as an option for kids 2 and older. I love that they have a huge indoor gym so that the kids have time to run around every day and not just when the weather is nice enough to go to the playground. I love that the cooks in the kitchen, the receptionist and the nurse all know my kids names and that they are sisters. I love that they do artwork every single day. If we have a 3rd child it would make a lot more financial sense to get a nanny instead of paying for 3 in daycare but we will do everything possible to keep sending our kids to Harbor because I truly feel it is the best place for them.
The pre-kindergarten program at Harbor Child Care provides a supportive environment for all students. Our teacher-to-student ratio enables us to focus on the needs of each individual child within a carefully planned curriculum. Harbor Child Care employs The Creative Curriculum®, which is a widely known and respected research-based curriculum with clearly defined educational objectives. Every day is a learning adventure in our prekindergarten classrooms where children are encouraged and taught to become independent thinkers. Harbor Child Care addresses all of the important areas of learning through play, and focuses on challenging children appropriately through their developmental ages and stages. Educational programing becomes more structured and offers children an opportunity to maximize their ability to succeed.
The daily schedule provides a consistent structure to the day; allowing for the development of routines and rituals. However, it permits the flexibility and openness to follow children's interest and address their needs. The curriculum encourages and supports a balance of free choice and teacher guided activities and allows time for small and large group activities. Learning through play offers children hands on experiences to develop problem solving skills, social skills and creative expression. Math, technology, science, and art components are strongly emphasized and are incorporated throughout the entire day through fun learning activities.
The Willis Avenue School was built by the Mineola Public Schools in 2003 as a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten school. In 2012 when the district decided it did not have enough enrollment to sustain this school Harbor Child Care began to occupy the first floor of the building. Harbor Child Care at the Willis Ave. School is a large facility comprising over 22,000 square feet and 18 classrooms with a student capacity of 356.
This beautiful and modern building sells itself as an excellent early childhood educational setting. It has a large gymnasium, a fenced in playground and large open spaces for group activities and meetings. Families from both Mineola and several neighboring communities have chosen the Willis Avenue Center for the education of their young children.