The West Haven Child Development Center believes that the family unit is the strongest influence in the life of the young child. Our program is designed to support the family by providing the child with a warm, secure, and educationally stimulating environment. These needs are met by the use of qualified staff specially trained in early care and education in an accredited program.
Our program promotes a higher level of learning for children, parents, teachers and the community utilizing a comprehensive model of emerging practices across social, emotional, cognitive, and health domains. In 2016 we were the only program in CT to be recognized as a "Promising Practice," in medical home implementation. A very unique distinction considering we are not a medical practice or clinic but the award recognized our efforts to meet the needs of children and families through the use of a variety of support services. There are only two programs in the country to be so recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition in 2016 we were the only team chosen to represent CT for a medical home and early childhood partnership grant to address the effects of toxic stress on children, families and those that work with them. Previously, in 2015 we received national recognition from First Lady Michelle Obama and the Center for Disease Control for our work to address childhood obesity. We were only 1 of 9 programs selected in the nation and the only one in the Northeast. We were also recognized by the CT Office of Early Childhood for meeting the new teacher qualifications for early care and education. As a result of meeting these qualifications teachers starting salaries were raised to $40,000. An additional $95,000 was secured in grant funding to upgrade preschool classrooms and we recently partnered with the United Way of New Haven to add an Early Head Start program to serve more infants and toddlers. A grant was secured toward start up funds to develop online early childhood courses. The first offering had 1 student, the second had 5 students and the third one, that is currently running, has 19 students enrolled! There is definitely a need for this type of coursework for the early childhood community.In February of 2015 we were awarded a 20,000 grant from the International Association of New Haven (IANH) to partner with the Public Library and the West Haven Community House to offer programming to our diverse community.We hope to further strengthen existing community partnerships and collaborations while developing new ones.
Our program is unique in that we take a holistic approach to early care and education. Staff members include an executive director with a doctorate in child studies and an administrative and supervisory certification issued through the State Dept of Ed. A full time social worker with an MSW, a full time educational coordinator with a blended early childhood certification, an educational consultant with a master degree in early childhood education and a full time pediatric nurse. The services provided include behavioral consultation for children; parent workshops on various subjects; exemplary early childhood curriculum; play therapy group with Clifford Beers Clinic; nutrition consultation for families and a new partnership with Shoprite to offer cooking classes onsite to parents and children. Partnerships with several local universities have been formed to enhance the services the center offers.
The Center has received National Recognition for quality programming through the National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation process, receiving scores of three tens out of ten and scores of 10+ out of 10 on the remaining 7 strands for meeting emerging criteria over and above the standard criteria assessed. First Lady Michelle Obama rewarded our efforts to prevent obesity in young children at the “Weight of the Nation,” conference in Washington, DC, one of only 12 programs in the nation to receive this recognition. The Center recently came in 4th in a national challenge campaign through the Child Hood Obesity Challenge sponsored by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The work that has been taken place at the center has also been internationally recognized, at the “Third Internationally Congress on Early Childhood Education,” in Adana, Turkey. The Early Childhood Round Table at Oxford Univerisity, Oxford, England and at the Royal College of Nursing at the University of Edinburg, Scotland.
I have had a long standing relationship with the West Haven Child Development, beginning when my son attended preschool here. I was so impressed for the program that I have remained as a board member for several years. I am accountant by profession and it is clear that this is a well run, fiscally stable program. The management team is creative, hard working and strategic thinkers. I am pleased to be associated with such an organization that provides wonderful programming to the children and families in my City.
Our program is designed to support the family by providing the child with a warm, secure, and educationally stimulating environment while the parents are at work. It provides a positive setting for children to learn to play, create, and explore with other children their own age. The Infant and Toddler Program has a separate curriculum which includes physical, emotional/social, cognitive and creative development. In this program, we use a Primary Caregiver System to help foster the growth of a special bond between the child and his/her caregiver.
As the Center’s name states, this is a place that not only provides parents with needed child care but also works with the parents in helping to promote each child’s growth and development. The aim is to develop each child as an individual, while at the same time instilling in them the basic rules and values.
The West Haven Child Development Center will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The West Haven Child Development Center is still the only program in West Haven to offer care for infant/toddlers on a sliding scale. Our Center serves 173 children and has a waiting list of over 100. More than 50% of families earn below the state median income and are single-parent households.
The challenge that we face constantly is an ever changing economy and funding base. The importance of Early Care and Childhood Education is talked about and researched has shown it is indeed a factor in the school readiness, but money is usually given to expand services to new children and not to raise quality for children already in care. Mandates are put in place without funding to back them. The teaching staff is required to receive a bachelor degree (which we highly support), but no funding is in place to raise the salaries.
Staff members include an executive director with a doctorate in child studies and administrative and supervisory certification through the State Dept of Ed. A full time social worker with an MSW, a full time educational coordinator with a blended certification in early childhood, an educational consultant with a MS degree in early childhood education and a full time nurse. The services provided include behavioral consultation; parent workshops; exemplary early childhood curriculum; play therapy group with Clifford Beers Clinic; nutrition consultation for families and a new partnership with Shoprite Grocery stores to offer onsite cooking classes for parents and children. Partnerships with local universities have been formed.
The Center has received National Recognition for quality programming through the National Association for the Education of Young Children Accreditation process, receiving scores of three tens out of ten and scores of 10+ out of 10 on the remaining 7 strands for meeting emerging criteria over and above the standard criteria assessed. First Lady Michelle Obama rewarded our efforts to prevent obesity in young children at the “Weight of the Nation,” conference in Washington, DC, one of only 12 programs in the nation to receive this recognition. The Center recently came in 4th in a national challenge campaign through the Child Hood Obesity Challenge sponsored by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The work that has been taken place at the center has also been internationally recognized, most recently at the “Third Internationally Congress on Early Childhood Education,” in Adana, Turkey and the "4th International Congress on Teaching, Learning and Leadership in Education," held in Barcelona, Spain.
The Center was most recently awarded a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics to strenghten a partnership between early childhood programs and pediatric medical homes. Additionally the Graustein Foundation awarded the center a grant to address "Equity in Education."
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Educate a child and you change a community. For the child, a good education means better career opportunities and higher lifetime earnings. College graduates enjoy better health and are more inclined to volunteer and vote. For the community, supporting our youths’ educational goals results in a stronger society.
When families, schools and communities take the view that children and youth are valued and respected assets to society, they necessarily support environments that nurture youth development. Children raised to embrace positive social values, to seek self-understanding, and to value their self-worth grow to become community-minded young adults with a sense of belonging and a belief in their resiliency. See how you can help our community's children grow into tomorrow's leaders.
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