Braeden and Joshua Shine at STAR 4 Cuddlezone Learning Center  


There are no words to describe the amazing experiences and interactions that my boys have had during their time at the Cuddle Zone Learning Center over the past 8 years! Both of my children, Joshua and Braeden, have grown up at The Cuddle Zone, and I am thankful for the opportunity they had to grow and mature in such a welcoming, nurturing and immersive learning environment. From the infant classroom all the way to the school age program, this STAR 4 site provides exciting and engaging learning activities.

Joshua entered the program at 12 weeks of age. Joshua always enjoyed the interactions with the other students and learned a lot about how to form relationships, share, express himself appropriately and problem solve. He developed many self help skills and became able to self direct and work independently, all skills which have been instrumental in his academic success in the public school. Joshua has been reading above grade level since first grade and excels in mathematical thinking. He is creative, energetic and curious about learning. I credit his curiosity, exploration and love of learning to the values that were instilled in him during his time with the many excellent teachers in various classrooms at the Cuddle Zone. Joshua is now 8 years old and in third grade!

Braeden is finishing his second year of PreK and will enter Kindergarten this fall. When Braeden was about 2 1/2 years old, his teachers and I noticed that his speech was not progressing towards appropriate developmental milestones and that he was beginning to stutter. When he was three years old, we did and IU evaluation and he began receiving speech therapy. After a year and a half of receiving intervention services and participating in a classroom setting with his peers, Braeden has met all of his IEP goals and is being discharged from the IU. He will enter Kindergarten on level with his peers and will have great opportunity for success because he will not be struggling to catch up.
Braeden is very creative and loves hands on activities and sensory materials. He is a very tactile learner and has benefited greatly from the various activities and experiences that he has had in the classrooms. Some of his favorites include, dramatic play Pizza Parlor, block center with community helpers and vehicles, goop, sand and water play, model magic, free art, cooking projects and, of course, the chick hatching project that the school does each spring. The eggs are brought to us in the incubator and the children are able to observe and keep journals of the hatching process. Once the chicks hatch, the children are able to visit with them, hold them and listen to them! It is a great experience and they all enjoy it so much! This is just one example of the types of amazing opportunities my children have been afforded by being involved in this Keystone Stars Early Childhood Program. I am thankful everyday that such a program exists and that I am able to see the benefits in my own children!

Heather S., Braeden and Joshua's mom, Lehigh County


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