On May 16, the school opened the new playground that was built using Abbott funding, money set aside by the state to help special needs districts.
"We decided to have a playground in site as opposed to using a public facility," said Director of Educational Programs Adrienne Sires.
According to Sires, the center is also planning to put a large shed behind the building to house the center's outdoor equipment, which includes bicycles for the kids to ride and a trampoline.
"We left a path where the kids could ride the bicycles," said Sires, adding that before the playground opened the equipment was up in storage and never used.
The Amvet Center, which uses combined funding from the state's Department of Education and Department of Human Services, is an in-district pre-school that houses 4-year olds. West New York was the first Abbott district in the state to provide a full-day full-year program for early childhood students.
The 10-hour program provides pre-care from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., educational instruction from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and after care from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The children attending the Amvet Center have the option to remain in the program throughout the summer months.
"The children will be able to use this playground all summer long," said Sires.
The Board of Education bought the center in 1998, but did not start running the educational instruction in the center until the 2000 school year. The center was run by Head Start from 1998 until 2000.
"We decided to try to expand," said Sires about taking over the building in 2000. "We did some minor renovations and now added the playground."
The 4-year-olds attending the Amvet Center did not only have a new playground to play in on May 16, they were also celebrating Multicultural Day in their school.
Multicultural Day was a district-wide event designed to teach students about their cultures and invite the parents to get involved in the day.
The students at the Amvet Center dressed in traditional costumes from their countries and provided music, dancing and food as well.
Lunch included plates from Morocco, Israel, Santo Domingo, Cuba, Equador, Nicaragua and other countries. Sabrina Vinas wore a red sequined dress as her costume to represent Cuba. Vinas is Cuban, from her father's side and Italian from her mother's side.
The parents provided many of the costumes and traditional dishes.