Tiny Little Pieces is a special learning facility.
Amanda Cardone is an experienced educator with a big heart for special needs children and always had a dream of opening a learning facility of her own. Cardone earned her master’s degree in special education from Arcadia University and has years of experience in early intervention strategies.
In November, 2014 her dream came true when Tiny Little Pieces opened its doors for students to offer its services to the community as a daycare and learning center.
Cardone is the facility’s owner, and serves as its director. She shared the mission of Tiny Little Pieces, which is to serve both typically and non-typically developing children.
Students who attend Tiny Little Pieces range in age from infant to six years. Small class sizes help to maintain a low student-to-teacher ratio so children receive even more individual attention, Cardone explained.
“All of the teachers here are state certified, loving and nurturing. This is our family and we treat the kids like they are our own,” she said.
On a recent visit to Tiny Little Pieces, Cardone was giving me a tour of the facility and we set out to quietly walk through the halls to avoid disturbing students who were all busily engaged in lessons and activities.
However, as soon as two students caught a glimpse of Cardone slipping into their classroom, they wiggled out of their chairs and rushed over to hug her.
Holding their papers up for her to see, they exclaimed “Look, Miss Amanda!” They were excited to show her their combined math and science lesson on bees.
Kneeling down to their level to admire their work, Cardone asked with a wide smile: “What do bees make?”
“Honey,” the students responded in unison as then they scurried back to their places to continue with the lesson.
Cardone said that Tiny Little Pieces also has classroom space for students who require state provided, early intervention services.
Early intervention strategies are employed for those children who need services for speech delays, gross motor delays or any other developmental delays, Cardone explained and added: “We look to fill a void for services that other schools cannot provide.”
Another void she hopes to fill is to one day install a fully equipped playground on the side of Tiny Little Pieces.
Presently, the space the students use for outdoor play is an asphalt patch that is surrounded by a six-foot vinyl fence.
She envisions creating an outdoor area for the students where the asphalt would be covered with rubber playground surface material. She would love to install equipment for all the children to play on. That includes newborns in strollers, crawling babies and even those in wheelchairs.
“I would love to create more outdoor space for the students. Installing a playground would really elevate this space.
We want to put in a jungle gym and playground equipment so all the students can use it. We don’t want any students standing off to the side because they can’t get on or use any of the equipment,” she explained.
She said the teachers also use the space as an outdoor classroom.
“The students recently grew plants and learned to care for them outdoors. They also watched butterflies grow and helped release them,” Cardone said.
When teachers plan science or outdoor activities, the students carry their chairs outside so they do not have to sit directly on the asphalt.
Cardone acknowledged that the cost of installing a playground is expensive, but has hopes one day that dream will also come true.
Parents Darren and Angel D’Achille have enrolled both of their daughters, Ava and Allie, at Tiny Little Pieces.
When asked about Cardone and the education their children receive at Tiny Little Pieces, the D’Achilles both agreed: “Just amazing.”
Angel, who often volunteers to answer the phones at the front desk, said: “The teachers treat the kids as if they were their own. This is not just a daycare. Even my youngest, Ava, who is one and a half, is learning sign language.”
Darren said: “To sum it up, it’s the staff. We looked at three or four other places, but we just love Amanda. The staff has created an environment for students so the parents know their children are happy, safe, and comfortable. It’s a great facility with a level of trust that makes you feel good about sending your kids there because you know it benefits them.”