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VCLC History

Investing in Children and Families Since 1966

Variety Child Learning Center (VCLC) was founded by Judith S. Bloch in 1966 as Pre-Schooler’s Workshop (PSW), the first therapeutic nursery/kindergarten for children with learning, language and behavior problems, including autism.

As of 1966, there were no federal legislation entitlements for special education and no public funding of programs for early intervention or school-age children with learning, language or behavior problems in the United States.

Located in Garden City, New York, the school consisted of just one class, with Judith Bloch as the teacher and social worker, and six students. As part of her innovative approach, Judith included parents in assessment and remediation.

Pre-Schooler’s Workshop re-located to 47 Humphrey Drive, Syosset, New York, a primary public school building, in 1977. One year later, The Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC) for Nassau County was established.

In 1981, Pre-Schooler’s Workshop purchased the public school building at 47 Humphrey Drive in Syosset, New York, where the current center based school and all other on-site programs are located.

Two years later PSW changed it’s name to Variety Pre-Schooler’s Workshop (VPSW) in recognition of an endowment from Variety–The Children’s Charity. The Family Center (FC) was established to provide weekend socialization and recreation for children with disabilities ages 4 to 12 years old and their siblings, as well as respite for parents.

In 1988 the Nassau County Regional Planning Group (RPG), a parent/professional coalition, was formed to develop recommendations for a statewide program of early intervention services for children with handicaps, birth-three years and their families. That same year, VPSW’s Family Center was selected as a model program for replication by the national Family Resource Coalition.

President George Bush named VPSW and its Volunteers as the 523rd “Daily Point of Light” in 1991.

In 1993, VCLC established the first Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) program on Long Island to provide services for children with disabilities at nursery schools, child-care sites and homes.

VPSW received a Kresge Foundation Challenge Grant in 1995, (the first of two grants) which provided funds to build a new wing.

The New York State Education Department awarded VPSW’s Home-School Collaborative Model (HSCM) a “Sharing Success Validated Program” in 1997 and designated Variety Pre-Schooler’s Workshop a training site and “Developer/ Demonstrator” for New York State.

To better reflect the expanse of programs and services for children, families and professionals, VPSW once again changed its name to Variety Child Learning Center (VCLC) in the year 2000.

In 2001, VCLC received a second Kresge Foundation Grant for renovation and expansion of the building. VCLC training Center opened in the new wing as a site for professional development, workshops and seminars. The Lufrano Training Program for early childhood teacher training was established in 2002 with a gift from the Lufrano Family.

The VCLC training program for pediatricians, in collaboration with Winthrop University Hospital, commenced in 2003.

In 2004, two new programs were established, SCIS (Special Class in an Integrated Setting) , an off-site inclusionary program in the Westbury School District and the Social Skills Training Program was put in place in the Jericho School District.

In 2006 Variety Child Learning Center marked its 40th anniversary with a wonderful reunion celebration, a professional conference on autism, alumni survey, and our re-release of the VCLC original film “A time for Georgia” on DVD. The DVD included along with three other pieces of parent interviews, documenting the importance of early intervention, the home-school collaborative model, the open school, providing family support and education, and networking; the foundation of VCLC’s philosphy.

2007 Marks the tenth anniversary of The New York State Education Department awarding VCLC’s Home-School Collaborative Model (HSCM) a “Sharing Success Validated Program” and it's designation of VCLC as a training site and “Developer/ Demonstrator” for New York State.

For more information on VCLC's special education services, child development programs, research and training, please contact us at

Copyright © 2003-2007   Variety Child Learning Center

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