First Congregational Church Day Care and Nursery of Cheshire
111 Church Dr
Cheshire CT 06410-3104
Contact Information
Address 111 Church Dr
Cheshire, CT 06410-3104
Telephone (203) 699-1169 x
Fax 203-699-1169
E-mail brenda@1stchurchpreschool.org
Web and Social Media
Mission

1st Church Preschool is committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and supportive community for young children and their families. Our morning and full day programs are developmentally based and age appropriate. We provide a hands-on learning environment both in and out of doors each day. We stress a literacy-based curriculum that is interactive with the natural world. We value and maintain low child/teacher ratios for enhancing language development, social skills, and creativity. Children at 1st Church Preschool are guided by a skilled, professional early childhood staff.

At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1995
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Leadership
CEO/Executive Director Brenda Ward-Kelley
Board Chair Ashley Minihan
Board Chair Company Affiliation Parent Representative
Financial Summary
 
Projected Revenue $423,275.00
Projected Expenses $411,241.00
Statements
Mission

1st Church Preschool is committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and supportive community for young children and their families. Our morning and full day programs are developmentally based and age appropriate. We provide a hands-on learning environment both in and out of doors each day. We stress a literacy-based curriculum that is interactive with the natural world. We value and maintain low child/teacher ratios for enhancing language development, social skills, and creativity. Children at 1st Church Preschool are guided by a skilled, professional early childhood staff.

Background

First Congregational Church Day Care and Nursery, Inc. (D.B.A. 1st Church Preschool) operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing education and child care for children ages three to six. The NAEYC accredited program is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors consisting of up to twelve members which include the program director, a teacher representative, current parents and community members. The staff consists of one Director and ten teachers. The program provides morning and full day preschool programs serving the families of Cheshire and surrounding communities.

In early 1994, Marilyn Donovan, a member of the First Congregational Church of Cheshire, along with Karen Kaczenski, the Director of Christian Education, worked with various Church committees to create a child care program to meet the needs of both non-working and working families both within and outside the church community. Funding for the project was borrowed from the Church congregation in September 1994 and First Congregational Church Day Care and Nursery, Inc. was set up as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. By November 1994, the Center became incorporated and renovations were quickly under way to meet licensing requirements by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. On January 3, 1995, the center was issued its initial operating license. In June 2004, the preschool was Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

At the end of the 2006-2007 school year, Marilyn Donovan retired. In her honor, a donation from a preschool family helped to establish a scholarship fund to support families in need with preschool tuition. In August 2007, Dawn DeFeo was hired and served as program director through August 2010. During this time, the program began doing business as 1st Church Preschool. After Dawn’s departure, Karen Bergstrom, a parent and previous board member served as interim Director until a permanent Director could be hired.

In December 2010, the board hired Brenda Ward-Kelley. Brenda began teaching at 1st Church Preschool in August 2004, as Lead Afternoon program teacher and then co-taught in the 4’s Room Program until taking on the role as Director. In August of 2015, the program was expanded by adding a fourth classroom increasing its licensed capacity from 36 to 46 children. 1st Church Preschool continues to maintain NAEYC Accreditation and was re-accredited in May of 2016 with a valid until date of May 2021.

Impact

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

PROJECT – PROGRAM EXPANSION 2016 ($60,000)

1st Church Preschool applied for and received a $30,000 matching grant through the DECD Small Business Express Program. These funds were sought after to help cover the costs of renovations, furniture, supplies and salaries to expand the program by adding a new classroom of 10 children with 2 full time teachers. This grant was based on the creation of two new full time teaching positions. Our new classroom opened for the 2016-17 school year increasing our licensed capacity from 36 to 46 children and increased our staff from nine to eleven members.

NAEYC ACCREDITATION RENEWAL – MAY 2016

1st Church Preschool renewed its NAEYC accreditation. Our NAEYC Site Visit occurred on December 12, 2016. In February 4, 2016, we received word that 1st Church Preschool (First Congregational Church Day Care and Nursery, Inc.) had been re-accredited--Valid until date May 1, 2021

BOARD OF DIRECTORS REVIEWED AND REVISED BY-LAWS (2016-17)

The Board of Directors reviewed the organization’s by-laws which were last adopted in 2009. Through discussion, the guidelines for parent representatives were updated along with the guidelines for length of term served by a board member. The revised by-laws were adopted on June 15, 2016.

2017-18 GOALS

Continue renovations to repair/update current space (new flooring in center bathroom)

Update outdoor playground equipment and repair yellow playhouse

Continue to build scholarship fund to support families needing financial assistance with preschool tuition

Improve weekly communication between teachers and working parents

Explore options for installing air conditioning to improve air quality during warmer months

Create a vegetable garden in collaboration with the Community Connections Program made available through the Cheshire Public Library

Needs

Ability to provide competitive teacher salaries and benefits

Funding teacher continuing education through college coursework to maintain NAEYC teacher qualifications

Continue to build our Scholarship Fund to help with tuition costs for families with financial need

Install air conditioning to improve air quality during warmer months

Long Term Goal – Relocation

The current preschool space provides many challenges to the program. The preschool has reached its maximum enrollment capacity with no further physical space to grow. Bathrooms are not located in the classrooms or within proximity that they can be supervised from the classrooms. Storage of program materials is a constant challenge. Also, there is not space specifically dedicated to staff for breaks, planning or storage of personal items. Teachers must expend a great deal of energy weekly setting up and taking down classrooms as the space is shared on the weekend with the Church Sunday school program. The acquisition of a new, updated space would: 1. Support more efficient supervision of children; 2. Improve program quality; 3. Fulfill the need of teacher break room; 4. Allow more adequate space for storage; 5. Provide more equally divided square footage per classroom to allow for a more uniform number of children and staff per classroom; 6. Allow classrooms to include or have immediate access to bathrooms and hand washing; and 7. Provide a space solely used by the preschool to eliminate need to set-up and take-down classrooms to accommodate Church Sunday school.

CEO Statement

1st Church Preschool has been in operation since January 1995 and I have been fortunate to have worked here since August 2004—first, as a teacher and now, as the preschool’s Executive Director. Each day, I look forward to the smiling faces of the children as I enter the school at the beginning of the day. I can hear their happy chatter and laughter as I walk through the hall and their artwork proudly displayed on the walls. I see a small group of children gathered with their teacher around the sensory table as they try to manipulate egg beaters to create suds in the soapy water. A squeal of delight as one child manages to turn the hand beater to create a growing mound of suds while a teacher praises the child for the ability to turn the crank while steadying the beater. In the room across the hall, two children paint at the easel while another group of children work together to build a large block structure, each taking turns as the building becomes taller and taller. In each classroom, I see children engaged in the exciting activities that the teachers have carefully planned.

We view play as essential to the development and growth of every child. In the context of imaginative play, children are able to set up and resolve social and emotional conflicts, extend their ideas about the world, expand conversational skills and develop thinking skills. We offer a hands-on learning environment both in and out-of-doors. Our literacy-based curriculum, provides an overall quality preschool experience which prepares children for their kindergarten experience. Our playground extends growth and learning outdoors and supports children to develop and awareness of the natural world. The interactions and successes of the children, the nurturing, dedicated teachers working to meet each child’s needs, and the supportive parents and families always ready to lend a hand combine to create our 1st Church Preschool community. A place where learning is experiencing!

1st Church Preschool provides a high quality, caring, educational experience to meet the needs of the children and their families in Cheshire and the surrounding communities. We continuously work to maintain a supportive preschool community with integral parent involvement and a professionally educated, dedicated staff with many years of early childhood teaching experience. Our 4-hour morning preschool program ensures optimal learning in a relaxed environment. Our full day preschool programs with flexible scheduling offer quality full day learning experiences that meet the needs of most working families. Our low child to teacher ratios provide better supervision and individualized instruction that supports each child’s development. Children learn by manipulating, exploring, discovering, creating, and questioning. In every endeavor, children take an active role in the learning process without pressure or fear of failure.

At 1st Church Preschool, we consider it a privilege to share in a child’s growth and development. Our program operates as a partnership between parents and staff to promote high quality, developmentally informed early childhood education and loving childcare.

Brenda Ward-Kelley

Executive Director, 1st Church Preschool

Board Chair Statement

I came across 1st Church Preschool when looking for a quality center for my son a few years ago, with a background in child development, I knew what I was looking for and found it immediately upon entering the school. The children were doing a number of activities and each one impressed me more than the next. I saw all the different developmental domains being addressed in a way that was engaging, fun and educational. The teachers were sitting on the floor with the children asking open ended questions that were thought provoking for the children, and the teachers were clearly enjoying themselves. I knew right away that this was where my son should be.

I was prepared for the school to meet all his needs but I had no idea what a great community I was joining with 1st Church Preschool. I was so impressed with the way the school was run I quickly volunteered to be on the board. The board is made up of such caring and creative people. I was so excited to learn that the school offered family activities which gave parents and children time to socialize and spend time together. Our experience in this program has been wonderful. My son has gained the skills he needs to be successful as he transitions to kindergarten. 1st Church Preschool has instilled that learning is fun and that working together is important. Brenda and all the teachers are fabulous and I am confident that there is no other program like this in our area. I enjoy being on the board because I am part of a great program. We are so lucky to have this great school in our community!
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Preschools
Tertiary Organization Category Education /
Areas Served
Cheshire
Hamden
Wallingford
Other
1st Church Preschool primarily serves children and families in the town of Cheshire and the neighboring communities.
Programs
Description

Our preschool is a 10-month school year program offering a 4-hour morning or full-day program with low child/teacher ratios.

 

Our integrated curriculum and literacy-rich environment provide children with an abundance of experiences which intentionally promote their developmental skills and knowledge across all developmental domains.

 
Our four-hour morning program allows for a slower pace in the classroom with enough time to delve into the learning process and daily scheduled outdoor play. Our full day preschool program includes a rest time followed by a planned afternoon curriculum which offers calm, relaxing play activities. These activities are an extension of the morning curriculum allowing children additional time for exploration and practice of the concepts previously introduced. 

 

PRESCHOOL PROGRAM (Last week of August to second week of June)

Morning Program 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Full-Day Program 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

(Early morning drop-off available beginning at 7:30 am)

We serve approximately 65 children, 2.9 to 6 years old, in full and part-day preschool.

 

Blue Room

Young 3-year-old children (10 children/2 teachers)
 

Orange Room

3 & 4-year-old children (8 children/2 teachers)
 

Red Pre-K Room

4 & young 5-year-old children (18 children/3 teachers)
 

Yellow Pre-K Room

4 & young 5-year-old children (10 children/2 teachers)
Population Served Families / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

Each year, 1st Church Preschool provides developmentally appropriate learning experiences that supports each child’s development of skills to prepare for a successful kindergarten experience. Using the Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework, teachers monitor each child’s development socially, emotionally, cognitively, physically and creatively and use this information to continue to challenge children and support their readiness for kindergarten as well as to identify children needing additional support services. 1st Church Preschool emphasizes the importance of the role of the family and their participation in their child’s education. The program supports the development of meaningful, lasting relationships between parents, care givers, teachers, children and families.

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. 1st Church Preschool has been offering quality, early childhood education and child care since 1995 and has been accredited by NAEYC since 2004. The success and quality of our program is evident by the full enrollment which is maintained through the personal recommendations of our current and previous families.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.

1st Church Preschool’s Annual Program Evaluation utilizes the information gathered from families, staff and the preschool board of directors to annually evaluate its program: The program utilizes the following evaluation tools:

  • NAEYC Family Surveys
  • NAEYC Teacher Surveys
  • NAEYC Annual Report
  • On-line anonymous Staff Surveys
  • On-line anonymous Parent Program Survey
  • Annual Program Assessment Form (Board of Directors and Staff)
  • Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework Classroom Profile

The information from the annual surveys and program assessment forms are compiled and used to identify both program strengths and areas needing improvement on all areas of program functions including:

  • Policies
  • Procedures
  • Program Quality
  • Children's Progress and Learning
  • Family Involvement and Satisfaction
  • Community Awareness and Satisfaction

The annual evaluation information is compiled and used to create an annual evaluation report. The report is posted and shared with staff, families and board members via an email. The report contains the results of the family surveys, interpretation of findings, the past year’s annual goals, and evidence supporting the outcomes of the goals. The outcomes are discussed with the staff at the August staff meeting and with the governing board of directors at the September board meeting. The feedback is used to determine successful aspects of the program and to develop improvement strategies where needed.

Through collaboration and shared decision making, program goals are established for continuous program improvement and innovation. The following people are included in the decision-making process:

  • Entire Program Staff
  • Board of Directors (Program Director, a Staff Representative, Parent Representatives, and Community Members)
Description

Our regular preschool program is closed during school vacation weeks. April Optional Days are offered for families needing child care during the school vacation. This program is a multi-age level program and is provided at an additional cost.

 

Morning Program 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Full-Day Program 8:00 am - 5:30 pm

Ages served: 3 to 6 years

 

This program pays for itself through April optional day tuition.

Population Served Families / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. This program provides working families with care during the school vacation week. The hours and days the program runs is based on the needs of currently enrolled families.
Description

Our nine-week Summer Program follows the same general philosophy and guidelines as our 1st Church Preschool Program with opportunities for social interactions and learning through guided, child-centered, play experiences. Weekly themes provide the basis of a variety of planned indoor and outdoor activities and games. Children are provided opportunities to explore their natural environment creating a program around their own interests and needs. Summer cooking, art, and science activities keep children engaged and happy. Much time is spent outdoors on our large playground and backyard area. Water activities such as sprinklers and water tables are available to keep children cool.

 
The program is primarily on site. Additional curriculum may be created around scheduled field trips, when transportation can be arranged. Our Summer Program is designed as a fun, yet educational experience where children can make friends and enjoy all that summer offers.
 
 

Morning Program 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Full-Day Program 8:00 am - 5:30 pm

Ages served: 3 to 6 years

 

Enrollment: Minimum of 2 mornings for 2 weeks up to 5 full days for 9 weeks

This program pays for itself through summer care tuition.

Population Served / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Summer Program provides 9-weeks of part-time or full-time child care and educational experiences for families needing summer care. This program fulfills the need of working parents needing year round child care. The hours and days the program operates is based on the need of enrolled families. 
CEO/Executive Director
Brenda Ward-Kelley
Term Start Dec 2010
Email brenda@1stchurchpreschool.org
Experience

Brenda Ward-Kelley holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and a B.A. in Liberal Studies with minors in Psychology and Studio Art. She holds current Connecticut State Elementary Teaching Certification and has college credits in Early Childhood Education Administration, Management and Finance. She has many years of experience as a family day care provider and worked as a preschool teacher in the Wallingford Public School System. Brenda began at 1st Church Preschool in 2004 as Afternoon Head Teacher and then taught in the 4’s Room classroom. She became director of the program in December of 2010.

Co-CEO
Experience


Staff
Number of Full Time Staff 8
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 11
Staff Retention Rate 86%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 11
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs and Terms
NameTerm
Dawn DeFeo Aug 2007 - Aug 2010
Marilyn Donovan Jan 1995 - Aug 2007
Senior Staff
Title Head Teacher
Title Head Teacher
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Collaborations
Cheshire Academy Volunteer Program--1st Church Preschool collaborates with Cheshire Academy and offers volunteer opportunities for Cheshire Academy Students to obtain community services hours volunteering at the preschool.
Board Chair
Ashley Minihan
Company Affiliation Parent Representative
Term Sept 2015 to June 2017
Board of Directors
NameAffiliation
David Arai Community Volunteer
Daria Bancescu Community Volunteer
Emily Benedetto Community Volunteer
Cynthia Cavallaro 1st Church Preschool
Michael Federico Community Volunteer
Michelle Leveillee Community Volunteer
Trip Sanders Community Volunteer
Colleen Vadala Community Volunteer
Brenda Ward-Kelley 1st Church Preschool
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 7
Standing Committees
Building
Personnel
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Strategic Planning / Strategic Direction
Program / Program Planning
Executive
 
 
Financials
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30 2017
Projected Revenue $423,275.00
Projected Expenses $411,241.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Documents
Form 990s
Form 9902015
Form 9902014
Form 9902013
IRS Letter of Exemption
FCCDN IRS Letter of Determination
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$334,064$227,945$246,165
Administration Expense$1,326$43,066$722
Fundraising Expense$25$4,353--
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.990.991.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%83%100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%341%0%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$55,826$40,889$39,961
Current Assets$45,715$30,725$28,601
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$21,643$2,522--
Total Net Assets$34,183$38,367$39,961
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201520142013
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities2.1112.18--
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201520142013
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments
Foundation Staff Comments

This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.

Address 111 Church Dr
Cheshire, CT 064103104
Primary Phone 203 699-1169
CEO/Executive Director Brenda Ward-Kelley
Board Chair Ashley Minihan
Board Chair Company Affiliation Parent Representative

 

Related Information

Provide Quality Education

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.