A new community center and preschool is set to open this month in the North 32nd neighborhood – the Young Mind Community Center and CO-OP, early childhood program. YMCC is a one-of-a-kind, inclusive community center dedicated to connecting people, resources and ideas in a way that marries innovative solutions with intentional outcomes. The CO-OP is a preschool for children ages 18 months to 5 years, with and without autism, which centers on practices that promote young children’s optimal learning and development.
“We are thrilled for Young Mind Community Center and the CO-OP to become an integral part of the North 32nd community, serving families and filling a need,” said YMCC and CO-OP Co-Founder Dr. Sara Mertel. “We welcome the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the children and families in our neighborhood.”
Located at 3202 East Mountain View Road, the CO-OP’s innovative and inclusive education programs will create an environment where all children thrive. Drawing from the best practices in child development, early childhood education, and learning and behavior to create experiences that foster optimal development, the CO-OP will provide a strong foundation that sets the stage for future academic and personal achievement.
“The CO-OP’s goal is to provide high-quality instruction and interventions matched to each child’s needs,” said Dr. Amanda Wood, CO-OP co-founder. “Our vision in creating the CO-OP was to take a multidisciplinary approach to child development and learning to the next level and create a transdisciplinary environment where each of these expert team members – most importantly parents – collaborate in a way to create an outcome that would otherwise be impossible. There is a great need for inclusive and transdisciplinary early childhood education in Arizona, particularly as it relates to the education of young children with autism, and we are striving to set a new bar for early learning programs.”
Benefits of attending the CO-OP preschool include: inclusive education, highly-trained and qualified professionals, developmentally appropriate practice, a focus on continuum of supports and low adult-student ratios.
The CO-OP and YMCC are the culmination of partnership between Drs. Mertel and Wood drawing on best-practices from their fields – community resources and development and clinical psychology – to redefine problems outside normal boundaries and innovate to reach new solutions and optimize results.
In 2011, Young Mind Center diagnostic clinic located in central Phoenix was founded by Dr. Wood, a clinical psychologist, as a pediatric diagnostic and consultation clinic specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Wood’s vision was to provide compassionate, thorough and accurate diagnostic services utilizing the best-practice assessment measures. Responding to the demand for exceptional services after diagnosis, in 2014 YMC expanded its vision and services into the field of autism intervention. With the addition of Emily Mariner, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and a team of highly skilled behavior instructors, YMC grew to include intervention services utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Recognizing the power of working together across disciplines, in 2016, Dr. Mertel was brought on as a partner and established the Community & Collaboration Initiative, which allowed the future development of YMCC and the CO-OP.
To learn more about Young Mind Community Center and the CO-OP, including employment opportunities in early childhood education, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and behavior instruction, to learn how to apply for preschool registration, visit youngmindcommunity.org.