New school will service Niagara County preschoolers with behavioral needs, providing critical specialized services for at-risk children; Dr. Wayne A. Secord honored for longtime commitment to the Wyndham Lawn Home and early childhood development
New Directions Youth and Family Services, a leading provider of services for at-risk children and families in Western New York, celebrated the grand opening of the Wayne A. Secord Therapeutic Preschool in Lockport with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new school, which will serve preschool students with behavioral and special education needs across Niagara County, is part of the Wyndham Lawn Home for Children, located at 6395 Old Niagara Road in Lockport.
"The mission of New Directions is to foster resilient, self-reliant families by promoting safe, respectful, responsible and goal-directed behavior," said Jim Coder, CEO of New Directions. "The Wayne A. Secord Therapeutic Preschool will play a key role in fulfilling this mission and satisfying regional needs by providing critical services that at-risk youth so desperately need and that general-attendance preschools in the area lack the resources to adequately provide."
The preschool will focus solely on preschool students with behavioral and special education needs beyond what can be effectively accommodated at general-attendance preschools. Previously, these students would have been bussed to the Gateway-Longview Lynde School in Williamsville, Bornhava Preschool in Amherst, and other institutions outside Niagara County.
Beyond addressing these transportation and logistical issues, the school's focus on small class size and individualized care is central to its success.
"The 8:1:3 classroom ratio is key to the Wayne A. Secord Therapeutic Preschool's ability to successfully address the behavioral needs of our students," said Patty McMahon, the school's principal. "For every eight students, there will be one teacher and three aides, providing a unique level of individualized attention and care."
"Research is increasingly emphasizing the importance of early childhood development as a critical period that sets the stage for a child's academic, personal and behavioral growth," said Wayne A. Secord, senior research scientist in speech-language pathology at The Ohio State University, namesake for the new school. "Thanks to this new school, preschoolers throughout Niagara County that have already shown early warnings signs will now receive the attention and care they need to remain on track in the development process. As a Lockport native with a lifelong connection to Wyndham Lawn, I am truly honored to have my name associated with this school and the critical function it will serve in the community."
Secord's link to the Wyndham Lawn Home for Children dates back to 1926, when his grandmother took the job of head cook at Wyndham and placed her three boys - George (Secord's father), Clarence and Charles - at the home. There, they received excellent care and learned discipline and the value of a positive work ethic, all growing up to become successful independent adult citizens and loving parents. It was at Wyndham that George would meet Secord's mother, Elsie, who was also enrolled there.
In addition to his work as a nationally recognized senior research scientist at The Ohio State University, and author of more than 80 published works, Secord, for the past quarter-century, has been dedicated to giving back to the community, founding and hosting the Wyndham Lawn Educational Conference, whose proceeds benefit Wyndham Lawn. He hosted his 25th and final conference Nov. 8.
New Directions Youth and Family Services is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency with a heritage going back more than 130 years. Its mission is to foster resilient, self-reliant families and permanence for at-risk children in the shortest time possible, by promoting safe, respectful, responsible and goal-directed behavior.
For more information about New Directions Youth and Family Services, visit fosteringgood.org.