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Imagination Station continues to impact the lives of children using Reggio Emilia approach

By: Julia Demma Last Updated: August 27, 2019

The staff at Imagination Station Child Development Center strive to regard the personal qualities of each child as unique gifts to be nurtured, shared, and appreciated. The unique curriculum is based upon sound child development principles and best practices.

Imagination Station proudly offers the Reggio Emilia approach, an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. The approach is solely student-centered and uses self-directed, experiential learning in relationship-driven environments. Within Indiana, Imagination Station is the only program in the area to offer this approach; the next closest Reggio Emilia approach program in Indiana is in Indianapolis.

Imagination Station offers year-round programs for infants who are six weeks old to 6-years-old year-round as well as summer enrichment camps for 6 to 9-years-old.

During summer camps, kids are out in the community participating in hands-on learning activities such as visiting the Dunes, local barns, fire stations, participating in gym classes, and much more. All these amazing summer activities are supported by the Michigan City Community Enrichment Corporation.

“We want to give the kids accessibility and have the opportunity to do things that maybe they wouldn’t normally do,” Theresa Argueta, Director of Imagination Station Programs, explained. “We also want to be sure that the families know that their kids are engaged in meaningful activities during the  summer to lessen learning gap.”

Janice Katz, clinical psychologist and board president at Imagination Station, first started the program back in 1995 after noticing a huge need in the area for high quality, accessible childcare.

“Parents need to be able to go to work assured and confident that their children are learning and thriving while developing the necessary skills to be a successful citizen,” Katz said.

At Imagination Station, creating meaningful bonds with kids and their families is incredibly important.

“Imagination Station is a really special place that is centered around the needs and development of each individual child. This happens because we have teachers that care very deeply for the kids and their families,” Argueta said.

Taking time to develop these special relationships also plays a huge role in the way that each child learns.

“We take time to understand how each individual child expresses their feelings such as how they show frustration and how they communicate their problems, so that we can help them build skills and grow. Everyone is different and expresses themselves in their own way. Our teachers at Imagination Station cater to this in order to use the languages that children use to help them learn,” Argueta said. 

President and CEO of Paladin, Bill Trowbridge, noted that each person within the program is working toward one common end goal.

“We want everyone to get to the point where they’re ahead of the curve and continue to be life-long learners. In order to achieve this, we must provide them with the best possible head start and opportunities to learn and develop,” Trowbridge said.

He noted how grateful he is to work with Paladin and to have a hand in helping enhance the lives of others.

“Making a difference in someone’s life, no matter how incremental, is so rewarding in every aspect. When I first saw the work that Paladin was doing, I knew right away that I wanted to be apart of it,” Trowbridge said.

Looking forward, Imagination Station is working on utilizing a smart phone app that will provide a virtual communication system between parents and professionals within the program that will allow parents to view daily assessments, pay bills, view activities, and more.  In addition, Imagination Station is determined to expand their mission aligning with the community need as time passes.

However, one of the biggest challenges Imagination Station faces is continuing to keep high-quality childcare and education at a reasonable price. Because of this, they actively hold fundraisers and greatly appreciate any donations. A notable upcoming event held by Paladin is the Golf to Give outing on September 9th.

If you are interested in donating, touring Imagination station, or signing up for programs, visitors are encouraged to stop into the office at 1200 E Coolspring Ave, Michigan City, IN.