Reading about what we do at TLC is great, but what do current and alumni parents, grandparents, and friends have to say about the impact of TLC on their child?
Isabel Cardoza, TLC preschool parents
I am really happy with TLC. I've noticed my son's improvements while coming to school - he wakes up energetic and happy to attend school. He also loves his teacher Ms. Caitlin. Everyone is so nice and kind and very supportive.
Robin Newman, TLC preschool parent
We are very happy with TLC. My son enjoys coming to school each day. We have a great support system here and I am thankful for each and every person - Caitlin, Lupe, Lindsey, Cindy, Breck, Cynthia and Kelly. TLC is a fantastic preschool! Thank you for all that you're doing for my son.
Marley & Jason Woods, TLC toddler parents
We love TLC. Our son just turned two and can already count to 20 and knows his alphabet. The teachers at TLC are amazing. My son is excited to go to school everyday!
TLC parent to a preschool four year old
I am very happy with TLC! My daughter has always loved school, but had a bad experience at a different school. I switched her to TLC and within a couple of weeks she was back to loving school again! TLC is so loving, patient, and genuine. So grateful to TLC!
Jennifer Goerlitz, TLC preschool and therapy parent
We had my daughter's six-month muscle clinic appointment on Friday and it went well. She sees several doctors in this clinic (I think around 7) and every doctor that came in, asked us where she goes to preschool. They were amazed with the progress she has made in six months. One of her rehab doctors was gone, so a different one saw her. This particular doctor hadn't seen my daughter in two years - at that time, my daughter was just becoming a really proficient ‘roller.’ Two years ago we also didn't know if she would ever be able to do any of the amazing things she's doing now. This doctor couldn't believe the amazing progress from two years ago; she just sat in awe of my daughter running up and down the hall, throwing and kicking balls and talking non-stop! The TLC physical therapist who has seen my daughter since she was six months old continues to be amazed at her progress. The doctor also commented on how the therapist, Jessica, is always ‘one step ahead’ of everything, in terms of ordering the equipment my daughter needs. Unfortunately, many of the children they see in the muscle clinic don't have the same amazing team we have for our daughter. Thank you for all you do! We are thrilled with the progress our daughter has made since she started TLC. I never thought we would ever have to enforce ‘speeding tickets’ because our daughter is trying to run down the hallways to keep up with her friends. Watching her chase after her friends outside is one of the most amazing parts of my day. I especially want to thank her preschool teacher, Ms. Lupe, and her therapists, Trish and Jessica.
Amy French-Troy, TLC parent and alumni parent
I am an educator and my school has referred several students to TLC for evaluations and therapy over the years. While I was aware that TLC had a preschool for special needs children, it wasn’t until we were searching for a new school for our son, that I discovered that TLC is also an inclusive preschool that purposefully mixes children of all types of backgrounds and abilities in an effort to raise more empathetic, compassionate, and conscientious kids. After a tour of the school and reading about the school’s mission and curricula, we knew that TLC was the right place for both of our children (at the time, TLC had just added the infant/toddler program and we were thrilled to enroll our baby daughter, as well).
In the last year, TLC has far exceeded my expectations as both a parent and an educator. The manner in which faculty and staff blend academics and social emotional skills should be a model for more schools. Since beginning kindergarten, several teachers have commented on my son’s ability to mediate tricky situations between peers and I know that this in great part due to his time at TLC. I have also been impressed with the amount of differentiation that teachers afford students, and their ability meet each child where they are and design a learning plan that will help each student to reach their full potential. I would recommend TLC to any parent who is looking for a school that fosters diversity, compassion, and lifelong learning. It feels so good to be able to leave my children in the care of such caring professionals whose aim it is to not only teach kids academics, but the life skills needed to be kind and caring members of society.
TLC Alumni Parent
As mother of triplets who were born much too early, I worried about some of the physical and developmental delays they had as they entered preschool. I found out about the Tiny Tim Center (as it was called then) from our pediatrician and we went to visit the school. The staff was warm and welcoming, answered all of our questions, and developed a learning plan for each child. We decided to enroll the kids in the fall of 1996.
I was apprehensive that first day of school as our family entered Tiny Tim (now TLC Learning Center); I expected the kids to be hesitant at being left alone and was braced for crying and clinging as my husband and I got ready to leave. However, that was not the case! Our children’s teacher had made a home visit the week before and took the time to introduce herself to the three of them, staying awhile to answer our questions and to get acquainted with everyone. That first day at Tiny Tim was wonderful! As soon as we arrived, the kids ran over to their teacher, waving goodbye to me and my husband as if to say, 'it’s okay Mom and Dad, you can leave now, we’re fine.' They loved going to Tiny Tim each day and telling us about all of the wonderful things they did.
By the time the triplets entered kindergarten, they had caught up to their peers developmentally thanks to the individualized learning program that Tiny Tim provided. Their kindergarten teacher was amazed at their progress and all three were at or ahead of the normal curve at that stage. They continued to excel in school from then on and all three graduated from Colorado State University in 2014. Because of the policy at Tiny Tim/TLC Learning Center to include children of all developmental abilities, they helped my children to grow into compassionate and caring individuals. My daughter (one of the triplets) received a degree in social work and is now a para-educator assisting high school students with special needs. I am so proud of what these three have accomplished and I know that Tiny Tim/TLC Learning Center was a big part of it.
Tiny Tim/TLC Learning Center provided a nurturing atmosphere that gave my children the learning, social and emotional skills and a great support system to ensure a successful future. We are so grateful for Tiny Tim being there when we needed them and congratulate the school on turning 60! I know they will continue to help children of all abilities for many years to come.
Greg Ludlow, TLC alumni parent & Board Member
The Tiny Tim Learning Center was founded many years ago by a dedicated group of parents of children with special needs. My step-daughter, Casey, was one of the early enrollees. She is 41 today, lives on her own, and is largely self-sufficient, thanks to her involvement with places like Tiny Tim (now called TLC) and the wonderful people who worked there throughout her young life.When she entered Longmont High School, attending a few classes with typical children was called “mainstreaming.” Today, having children with special needs in a class with typical children is referred to as an “inclusive classroom.” The world is a better place today because of inclusive classrooms like those at TLC, where special kids like Casey aren’t locked away from their peers at a young age. This was the driving philosophy behind the founding of Tiny Tim, and remains the mission of Tiny Tim, called TLC, today: Kids with special needs and kids with typical development should learn side-by-side in inclusive classrooms to benefit both the children with special needs, and the children with typical development.
Cathy and I met and blended our existing families in 1983. She had Casey, and I had two daughters. Shortly thereafter, our son, Tom, announced his pending arrival. Fast forward to Tom’s first day of kindergarten at Hygiene Elementary. Cathy was a panic stricken mother-bird when he did not get off the afternoon bus. Tom called her a short time later to say his friend, who was born with a cranial birth defect, was being teased on the bus by some older boys, and Tom was afraid to get off and leave him alone with those boys. So Tom rode the whole way home with his friend. I have been proud of my son many times in his life, but never more so than that day. He learned to be such a sensitive and caring person in large part by being raised with an older sister with Down syndrome. This is the type of compassionate behavior children with typical development learn in addition to literacy and math skills, by being in classrooms alongside children with special needs. Don’t you want that same thing for your child, grandchild or just a young neighborhood kid? That is what an inclusive classroom setting offers, among many other positive learning experiences for typical kids.
Jack and Cammie Edson, TLC alumni parents
Two and a half years ago, our family first read The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and utilized a method to always be connected to each other’s hearts even if the person wasn’t present or couldn’t be seen. It has come in handy on numerous occasions for our daughter Charlie when she knows a goodbye is on the horizon: daddy has a conference, mommy has a conference, Mimi and Poppy are going to Australia, YaYa and Papa are going to Las Vegas. It was invaluable in explaining the death of my brother (an unexpected goodbye) and how Uncle Scott would only be as far away as a tug on the Invisible String.
And when the day came to drop Charlie off for the first time at TLC (it was Tiny Tim back then) for her first day of preschool, the Invisible String was tugged harder than ever – mostly by her parents. It’s an unnerving feeling as a parent to experience the first day of not having your child be at home for the majority of hours in your care. Yet, it didn’t faze Charlie and the folks at TLC made the transition seamless with wide smiles, frequent communication, open doors, and fun curriculum.
Along the way a few faces have changed at TLC, but the constant support has not. Our family and Charlie have been lucky to be a part of the classrooms of Miss Beth, Miss Alana, Miss Barbara and Miss Lupe.
As a family, we are again preparing for another big upcoming transition, Kindergarten! After attending the “what to expect” parent night for future Kindergarteners at Charlie’s next school, it is such a comfort to know that alongside us, TLC has helped prepare her for any challenge or circumstance both cognitively and emotionally. She is ready and we know it – no better feeling as her parents.
We all will miss coming to TLC on a regular basis. The friendships with students, staff and other families we all have made at TLC will remain strong. And we know they will never be far away because they will always be as close as a tug on the Invisible String.
Thank you TLC for the wonderful care, education, experiences and support you’ve provided our entire family, but especially, to our daughter.
Kelly Webb, TLC alumni parent (x2!)
This morning, on the way to The Tiny Tim Center in Longmont, Cassidy is seat-dancing and Eliza is singing, "I go to Tiny Tim! I see Mary Beff!"
It assures me I'm doing the right thing. My husband and I may not be ready to send our girls off to school, but growing up is inevitable. It's comforting to know they are going to a place they love and a place where they are loved in return. A place where magic and miracles are part of the curriculum.
I have two amazing, gifted daughters -- Cassidy, my 5-year-old, is a fairy-princess-actress-rock-star-ballerina-Barbie-girl. Eliza, my 2-year-old, is Batman. My girls are unabashedly unique, and at their preschool, The Tiny Tim Center, that individuality is encouraged -- and celebrated.
Each morning, the first person they see is Executive Director Marc Cowell -- usually because he's holding the front door. After he addresses them each by name and shares jokes, the girls rush inside for hugs from Miss Michelle. They fill her in about their morning and steal a few Post-Its. Then, Cassidy is off to check on Miss Emmy, who Cassidy says is "as pretty as Barbie," and Eliza heads for the office of Miss L.J., where she can borrow a hat and color some forms.
Each day at The Tiny Tim Center is another story of miracles and magic. My girls' morning routine is always followed by something special. Some days, it's storytime in the big room where Mr. Marc reads. Cassidy assures me he's "almost as good as Daddy," although she has had to remind him that "all stories should start 'once upon a time.'"
Some days, it's playing on the playground that staff and volunteers spent a very hot Saturday rebuilding. I've seen Miss Rachel ride a see-saw in a skirt so that a little boy didn't have to play alone.
Magic is also in the way the kids work together to help each other climb a rope ladder and slow down for the kids who can't always keep up. And there is magic in the therapists who are teaching Cassidy sign language so she can help them work with her classmates with special needs.
The Tiny Tim Center is a place of miracles. My girls' arrival routine is the routine for every kid at TTC. Each morning at 8:50, office work stops so that office staff can greet kids by name, pass out hugs and ask about favorite toys and playtimes. Kids dart from office to office so they can check in with all their grown-up friends before heading off to class.
The miracle of The Tiny Tim Center is certainly in the teachers -- Miss Rachel and Miss Tavita who send handwritten notes home every week, telling us something special about Cassidy. And Miss Mary Beth and Miss Kathleen, who get daily knee hugs from Eliza and who treat every 2-year-old's scribble like a work of art. And Miss Kathy, who, according to my nephew, "knows Santa Claus." Additionally, the miracle of The Tiny Tim Center is in the administrative staff who are involved in the children's lives, even though it isn't in their job description.
The miracle is also in the therapists who work in and out of the classrooms as extensions of The Tiny Tim Center families. Cassidy looks forward to the days that Miss Laura is in her classroom helping a boy with special needs because Cassidy is "Miss Laura's special helper." The best days are when the little boy plays the piano so Cassidy can dance and sing along.
A speaker recently described TTC as giving out "hope by the handful," and that's exactly what they do there. Even for those of us who didn't think we needed hope. Every day at the Tiny Tim Center, my girls are learning the importance of teamwork and cooperation. They are learning to define people not by labels or abilities but as friends. Now that my girls have spent time at TTC, learning the values and lessons of that magical place -- that place of miracles -- I know that these are lessons my husband and I couldn't teach them on our own.
I'm grateful to The Tiny Tim Center and to the hope, the magic and the miracles they share every single day. I'm grateful for a place where my girls are so loved and so cherished that they dance in their seats and sing at the thought of going.
Jackie List, TLC Grandparent
My Grandson is 5-years-old. He is beautiful, brilliant, sensitive and sweet. He is also Autistic. As a baby, toddler, and pre-schooler, this beautiful boy struggled to connect with everyone and everything in his world. He struggled to make eye contact, to make his wishes known, communicate his needs, to accept or give a hug. Sometimes, in his frustration, he was violent toward his family, his peers, his teachers and himself. We who love him struggled to reach him.
Then we found the TLC Learning Center. He became a member of that “family” in August. At first, he struggled there as he had before, and the staff struggled to understand and find ways to guide him. They had to deal with more than Autism. The trauma he had experienced as a toddler was interwoven with his medically diagnosed issues. The TLC staff saw his strengths, understood his challenges, and worked with him (and with us) as he found his way.
I don’t know the specifics of the therapeutic magic performed through the skills, patience and perseverance of his classroom and after-school teachers, his occupational and speech therapists, and his YogaKids teacher. What I know is that,
in 3 months, he is a different child. He is still beautiful, brilliant, sensitive and sweet, and now he is lighter in spirit and more connected to himself and his world. He can play and share with his peers; he accepts and gives hugs; he names his feelings and uses the skills he’s learned to regulate them. He tells us many times a day that he’s “so happy.”
We know there still is a journey ahead that will challenge us. Thanks to the TLC staff, we also know that there will be joy and success all along the way. We are so grateful to have found this amazing place!
Bridget & Kristaphor Shahinian
I was so grateful to find The Tiny Tim Center in January of 2011. My son, Shahe, then three, had been receiving Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy since he was ten months old. He had a diagnosis of global developmental delays, hypotonia (low muscle tone) and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). Shahe was aspirating with each swallow of breast milk and his low muscle tone made nursing and bottle-feeding difficult. He was described as “failure to thrive.” When Shahe began Occupational Therapy (OT) through an Early Intervention program, we had three therapists that came to our home one hour each per week. Shahe began eating, crawling, laughing and talking, and the Occupational Therapist determined Shahe had Sensory Processing Disorder, which contributed to his distraction and constant tantrums. She was then able to begin helping him work through those additional challenges. When his Early Intervention services ended at age three, Shahe began receiving services through the school district. After receiving three hours of therapy a week, he was now receiving only one hour per week.
My husband and I could see that he was not continuing to progress the way we had hoped. We brought him to a Neuropsychologist who diagnosed ADHD in addition to his other struggles. We were told to continue to watch for pervasive developmental delay. As parents, my husband and I thought we were doing everything, but now our son needed more; finding The Tiny Tim Center was like breathing a huge sigh of relief. We began additional Occupational and Speech Therapy right away. Our therapists, the incredible Miss Kathy and Miss Tabby “got” Shahe almost immediately. Shahe used to scream when I put him in a swing on the playground, now he was lying on a platform swing, for better concentration, putting puzzles together.
My husband and I asked each other, “What if Shahe could come here every day?” It turned out he could! The Tiny Tim Center opened the full day preschool program last fall and Shahe and our youngest daughter, Maya, were able to attend preschool together. I knew this was going to be an amazing experience the moment their teachers arrived for a home visit. A home visit! Miss Beth, his teacher, accepts Shahe, understands him, challenges him, and loves him. His therapists are in the classroom working with all students for two full days a week. Shahe still has struggles, but The Tiny Tim Center works with him and works with us, and the staff knows how to deal with his sensory induced meltdowns and frustration. The other kids, both typical and children with special needs, accept him and want to play with him. Maya has gained more academic skills in her first year of preschool than we thought possible. She is now beginning to read words, which I attribute to both the wonderful curriculum, such as Zoo Phonics and Storybook Journey, as well as to her dedicated teachers.
Last summer our oldest daughter, Sallie, began to struggle with her own sensory issues. We didn’t even hesitate before registering her for a Yogakids class and OT with the fabulous Miss Mia. It was amazing to be able to participate in a Yogakids class with all three of my children in a completely accepting environment. Thanks to this enrichment class, our whole family now uses the phrase “my engine is running fast” to describe feeling overwhelmed; they all speak The Tiny Tim Center lingo. The center is a gift in itself to each member of our family. The knowledge and experience the teachers and therapists have given to our family is priceless. The best part is that Shahe feels safe, accepted, and loved there. Maya has friends of all degree of abilities and she understands that her brother struggles with things differently than she does. Our family will continue to support The Tiny Tim Center far into the future, just as they have supported us.
The Brooks Family, TLC alumni parents
Life is a series of unexpected events, which is how it should be, as the alternative of a wholly predictable life sounds just awful. For our little family, the unexpected came in the form of our firstborn child, our son, with ice blue eyes, perpetually dirty hands, and a strong affinity for stray cats. Our son, with the one funky extra chromosome that results in what we know as Down Syndrome.
And it was there, as we sat in the hospital room trying to reconcile what we had predicted would be with what was, that we began to receive a multitude of blessings. Blessings in the form of people, people we had never met and never would have met if not for Caden’s birth. Nurses, therapists, early interventionists, and other families: these people were reaching out, smiling, congratulating us, and educating us on the amazing future we were going to have with Caden.
Within days of his birth, a petite woman entered our room to discuss therapy options for our child. Her name was Shari Karmen, and she would become our first beloved Occupational Therapist for Caden, and our first link to The Tiny Tim Center. Since then, Caden has received weekly therapy sessions through The Center, and is now attending their top-notch preschool program for children with and without special needs. Through it all, the level of care, knowledge, and support we have received from every person we have come in contact with at The Center has been astounding.
The truth is that life often presents us with situations we can’t predict or prepare for. How quickly you adapt to these situations often depends on the support system around you, as well as your own willingness to grow, learn, and change. And so, we ask you to support this special organization and the children they work with in any way you can. Not just because they’re a quality resource for many families in Longmont, not just because they do amazing things for children with and without special needs – children who will all too soon be contributing members of our society – but also because life is a series of unexpected twists and turns, and you never know when someone you love will need a strong support system, like we found at The Tiny Tim Center.