Friends Center for Children
227 E Grand Ave
New Haven CT 06513-4102
Contact Information
Address 227 E Grand Ave
New Haven, CT 06513-4102
Telephone (203) 468-1966 x
Fax 203-469-1026
Web and Social Media
Play is an active form of learning that unites the mind, body and spirit
Educate Children, Empower Families, Inspire Teachers, Engage Community, Embrace Diversity
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 2004
Organization's type of tax exempt status Exempt-Other
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Allyx Schiavone
Board Chair Mr. Scot Wrocklage
Board Chair Company Affiliation Sikorsky
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Mission Educate Children, Empower Families, Inspire Teachers, Engage Community, Embrace Diversity
Background Friends Center for Children is an independent early childhood education center serving children ages 3 months-5 years in New Haven.  We were founded in 2007 by members of New Haven Friends Meeting (Quaker) to address the critical shortage in high quality early childhood education opportunities in our community.

In the past year we have done a tremendous amount:

1.  We renovated our basement and turned it into a music and movement space so that we could turn our music and movement space into a new infant and toddler classroom. We are now at full capacity with 84 children in our program. 

2.  We continue to work to advocate for workforce training opportunities in the region. We helped to open a dialogue between Bank Street College of Education and the Office of Early Childhood to establish a workforce training program to help the State of Connecticut meet its 2020 early childhood educator degree requirements.

According to Public Act 12-50 amended CGS 10-16p outlining the educational requirements for publicly-funded early childhood programs, by 2017 each program funded by the State shall have 50% of their teachers hold a Bachelor degree with a concentration in early childhood and/or a degree in early childhood, child development, child studies, human growth and development and the remaining teachers hold an Associate degree in the same areas.  By 2020 100% of teachers in state funded programs shall hold a Bachelor degree in these areas.  This legislation brings CT in alignment with the federal (Head Start) and national (NAEYC) timelines on attainment of degrees. The Associate and Bachelor programs are to be approved by the Board of Regents and Department of Education as outlined in legislation.

Currently in Connecticut there are 4078(data shared in 2015) teachers in State funded programs. Of those teachers, 591 are in compliance with the requirement that all teachers must hold a Bachelor degree by 2020.  New Haven School Readiness and Head Start programs employ over 500 teachers and assistant teachers.  Less than half have the required B.A. degree and 30% have an Associate's degree.  

As we attempt to find solutions to this significant shortage, we need to consider three main factors; 
1. the cost of a Bachelor's degree in relation to the income of an early childhood educator and salary gains associated with a degree;
2. the accessibility of bachelor degree programs to educators in the New Haven region, and;
3. the impact of degree attainment in relation to the quality of teaching.
The average Early Childhood Educator earns $10.84 per hour or $22, 547.20 per year for 52 weeks of full time work.  The center for the study of child care employment reports, "Despite a nearly two-fold increase in costs to parents for early childhood services since 1997, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, childcare workers have experienced no increase in real earnings since this time.  Those who work with preschoolers have fared somewhat better; their wages have increased by 15 percent in constant dollars since 1997. And as was true in 1989, childcare workers still earn less than adults who take care of animals, and barley more than fast food cooks." 

According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014--2015 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.  The yearly cost for the average Early Childhood worker would require the teacher to spend 41% of his/her yearly income on tuition.    
The ability to impact the quality of the early childhood education workforce in the State of Connecticut has never been more opportune.  Due to the above mentioned legislative change, early childhood educators have to meet external degree requirements in a way that heretofore has not been expected.  The value of this requirement will be most effective if the degree programs offered to early childhood educators are of high-quality.  

To ensure that the State of Connecticut and the region of New Haven are able to meet the 2017 and 2020 requirements; and that educators have the opportunity to access this high-quality programming without procuring tremendous personal debt; and that educators are offered the highest possible quality in an early childhood degree it is proposed that the Office of Early Childhood, the New Haven Early Childhood Alliance, Friends Center for Children and Bank Street College of Education and a local college enter into a partnership agreement to bring a Bank Street College of Education Cohort to New Haven.      

The cohort(s) would offer New Haven region educators Bank Street College of Education degree credits to meet the 2020 requirements. The cohort would be affiliated with a local higher education program such as Albertus Magnus, or SCSU or ECSU. This local affiliate would act as the licensing program for this degree. .  

3. We enhanced our program called the Adverse Childhood Experiences Program which we started in 2013 to service all of the children, families and staff in our community.  The original goals and objectives in our Adverse Childhood Experiences Program were to;

1. Identify children who have had adverse childhood experiences and address their needs do they can learn and develop normally
2. Improve educators' and parents' ability to support children who have experienced ACEs
3. Integrate a social, emotional and mental health component in to the early childhood education model

We integrated a social, emotional and mental health component into the early childhood education model by hiring and working with a social work consultant.  She helped facilitate all of the above aspects of the program. She came to us with 35 years' experience in the Hamden Public School system and an extensive understanding of the importance of the development of the whole child. This framework was guided and reinforced by her Quaker beliefs- which helped shape our culture and tone with regard to the effects of ACEs on the children, parents and teachers in our program.

4. We expanded our relationship with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence Preschool RULER program. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence believes that emotions drive learning, decision making, creativity, relationships, and health. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society. The Center conducts research and teaches people of all ages how to develop their emotional intelligence. They do this work because the well-being and sustainability of our society depends on each of us using our emotions intelligently.

RULER stands for:

At Friends Center we believe that emotional regulation is a critical step in school readiness.  Children who are able to recognize and take control of their emptions have an easier time navigating impulses and exhibiting executive functioning skills.  These skills make it easier to achieve cognitive or academic success. We see emotional regulation as a foundational skill needed for academic achievement.  The RULER program is one way to support the acquisition of this regulation.

We have modified this program to allow us to use it for our infants and toddlers as well as our preschoolers. 

5. We were asked to participate in this study by the Yale Child Study Center because the work that we do in relation to supporting the whole child creates a climate that supports mental health.

6. We applied for and received a grant to document our curriculum. We are in the process of writing this document.
Our goals for this coming year are to explore ways to expand our programming through both dissemination and replication.   

 Educate Children: we need funding to publish our curriculum- $15,000.

 Engage Community: we need to continue our advocacy work through outreach to the immediate Friends Center community via the Fair Haven Family Stroll: A Festival and Fundraiser to Raise Awareness for High Quality Early Childhood Education: 10,000.00

Embrace Diversity: We need funds to maintain our sliding scale tuition system.  Currently 85% of our families fall below the full-pay scale.  We need 105,000.00 to maintain our socio-economic diversity. 
CEO Statement

Internally, we educate children by providing year-round, full-time care for children ages 3 months to 5 years through a child-centered learning experience.  Our program is enhanced by the ideals of community, equality, peace, simplicity, truth and stewardship. Externally, we educate children by working to create a written curriculum to be shared with other early childhood programs.

 Internally, we empower families by entering into a relationship with them through our cooperative program to create a partnership of support for the children at FC. We want families to have the tools to advocate for their child while at FC and in future educational experiences. Externally, we empower families through our free parent workshop series open to Friends Center and greater New Haven parents.

 Internally, we inspire teachers by participating in staff-wide professional development opportunities such as partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to bring the preschool RULER program to Friends Center. Externally, we inspire teachers by partnering with Gateway Community College and Southern Connecticut State University to create a Friends Center internship program. We have also created a free teacher workshop series open to the entire early childhood community.

Internally, we engage community by joining together to support the children, family and staff at Friends Center. We utilize a parent cooperative system in our program. Every family contributes 1.5 hours per week per adult in the household to our program. We are a stronger, more committed program because of the parent cooperative. Externally, we engage community by having all of our lead teachers serve on New Haven non-profit boards or alliances that support children or families.  We also founded the FAIR HAVEN FAMILY STROLL. Last year, this event brought over 800 community members together for a day of family fun. 

Internally, we embrace diversity by focusing on creating an environment that honors different races, cultures, learning styles, family configurations, religions, socio-economic status and gender. We hope to create a community that reflects no racial majority. We support this initiative through a sliding scale tuition system. Externally, we embrace diversity by advocating for equal access to high quality early childhood education for all young children in the New Haven community through editorials, our blog and speaking engagements.


Board Chair Statement  

As I was becoming a father, there was no doubt in my mind that things would change about myself and what motivates me.  Many of these things I expected, but so many were surprises.  I knew I would fall fiercely in love with my children and become equally intense about their care, but what caught me off guard was how much I soon felt this same innate call to care for every child in need and the inevitable despair of knowing my own limitations of self: time, energy, money, and otherwise. 


Having spent time with the Friends Center for Children as a parent first, I was inspired at how impactful the organization is to the children who are graced with being there.  Becoming more involved as a board member, and then eventually as chair, I have found an outlet for my energy that allows me to know that I am contributing to something bigger than myself, something that is genuinely affecting the lives of children and families for the better.  As we sit in the board room (also a preschool classroom) and tackle the challenges facing our organization, it is this knowledge that keeps me motivated.


Through the tremendous leadership of our Executive Director and our board, we have had cause for many celebrations.  In 2013, we opened a new facility to expand service from 18 to 84 children.  We have developed and implemented a program to aid children who experience trauma.  We have partnered with Yale to act as a pilot site for the RULER (Recognize, Understand, Label, Express, Regulate) program.  Further, in just the last few months, we completed a $4.425-million-dollar capital campaign.    


With our successes come many challenges.  One challenge that we keep at the fore is the need to mature our existing infrastructure to be sure that it can weather future adversities to the organization and guarantee continuity of our mission for years to come.  We are tackling this in a variety of ways: identifying our organizational needs, seeking grant funding to support identified positions, and developing more robust governance polices for our board.  The second major challenge for our organization is to fully express our mission by expanding our program to serve more children and families. With so much need for high quality early childhood education, this challenge is always in our minds.  To address this, we have formed a Strategic Advancement Initiative to explore avenues of expansion: both through dissemination of our practices and through replication of our programs

Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Preschools
Secondary Organization Category Education / Parent & Teacher Groups
Areas Served
East Haven
New Haven
North Haven
West Haven
We serve the New Haven area, most specifically Fair Haven, zip code 06513.

The ACEs Support Program is intended to identify and treat the traumatic effects of adverse childhood experiences ("ACEs") on the development of/in children ages 3 months - 5 years. The program is designed to; intervene before traumatic experiences create permanent effects in young children, to support young children who have been expose to and effected by traumatic events, and to engage parents and educate teachers in addressing early trauma.

The ACEs Program will include a full-time, clinical social worker who will be present in the classroom with our teachers and parents.  Working with classroom teachers, she will develop support plans for students and families. S/he will be in the classroom each day and will work with each group of students at least once per day. Her work will include hands-on care and support.

Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / Families / At-Risk Populations
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Description We have partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to bring the RULER program to Friends Center.  The program begins children’s emotional intelligence education and helps them develop the emotional skills and knowledge they need to be ready for school and to succeed in life.

Emotional intelligence underlies children’s ability to regulate their emotions and get along with others – skills critical for building positive relationships and achieving academic success.

Preschoolers develop their skills through many different fun and engaging learning activities, including:

  • circle time lessons
  • small group activities
  • art
  • music and movement
  • games

 RULER is fun and engaging for children. It aligns with early learning standards, and it gives teachers the tools they need to easily integrate RULER into their existing curricula and classroom routines.


Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / Families / At-Risk Populations
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. The short-term success of the program are directly proportional to a decrease in frustration in our population- including children,. families and staff.  
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. This program is designed to create an emotionally literate and aware community. We recognize the success of this program through the increased ability of our children, parents and staff to recognize, express and navigate emotional responses to everyday life.  
Program Comments
CEO Comments The ONLY obstacle facing these programs are resources. The number one health risk to young children in our country are adults.  The Adverse Childhood Experiences Support Program and the RULER program both work to intervene and circumvent issues caused by early childhood trauma by offering supports to the child, family and educational environment.   
CEO/Executive Director
Ms. Allyx Schiavone
Term Start Sept 2009

Allyx Schiavone, has tremendous experience in many aspects of this work.  Allyx was appointed Director by the FCfC Board in September 2009 and in five years has successfully spearheaded; a $4.425 million Capital Campaign; designed and built a 9,200 square foot LED certifiable building, increased admissions from 16-55-84 children and increased staffing from 6-12-30 educators in fifteen months; and is currently writing a curriculum of Friends Center practices.  She came to FCfC with an extensive background in early childhood development and elementary education -- as a teacher and administrator in CT and NY. She holds dual Masters' degrees from Bank Street College of Education in Early Child Development and Elementary Education, and a Bachelor's degree from Union College.

A New Haven native and long-time resident of Fair Haven, Allyx maintains ownership in a New Haven real estate development corporation which she managed from 1998-2009. While living in the Fair Haven area, Allyx helped found the Quinnipiac River Community Group (QRCG), a grassroots neighborhood organization created to protect and improve the diverse and historic neighborhoods surrounding the Quinnipiac River. As a QRCG leader, she spearheaded efforts to raise funds from local, State and federal sources to repair the Ferry Street Bridge and launch the comprehensive Quinnipiac Avenue re-do, efforts that required $16 million and $21 million respectively.

Allyx has served as Program Coordinator for New Haven based Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES); Early Childhood Classroom Observer for Southern Connecticut State University; and Budget Coordinator for the New Haven Board of Education facilitating a $10 million grant. Allyx has taught in NYC, New Haven and Greenwich in several elementary schools and pre-school settings, directed summer camps and written and supervised curriculums at elementary, middle and high school levels with an emphasis on literacy, math, science and multi-disciplinary studies.

She currently serves as a board member for Connecticut Voices for Children, is a member of the New Haven Early Childhood Alliance serving as the chair of the Quality Committee and a member of the Operations Committee, was awarded a Master Leader title by the Exchange Leadership Initiative, was appointed by Mayor Toni Harp as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Reading, is a graduate of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund's Community Leadership Program (Cohort 16) and is currently a Community Leadership Program Fellow (Cohort 18). She is the mother of two fantastic school-aged children and resides now in the East Rock section of New Haven.


Number of Full Time Staff 28
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 170
Number of Contract Staff 31
Staff Retention Rate 97%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 6
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 19
Hispanic/Latino 5
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 1 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 30
Unspecified 0
Senior Staff
Title Assistant Director

Susan came to Friends Center in 2011 as Head Teacher for the Infant/Toddler program.  During Susan's second year with the program, she began phasing into the Assistant Director role. When Friends Center opened the new facility (expanding from 18 children to 55 children) in August, 2013, Susan officially became the Assistant Director.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies with a specialization in family support. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of New Hampshire. Susan had been teaching preschool for 5 years before joining the Friends Center Community and has been involved with children and families for over 15 years. 

Susan and her husband recently welcomed their first child. He has now also become part of the Friends Center community when Susan returned from her maternity leave. 
Title Emotional Well-Being Coordinator

Bonnie Muller was raised in a Quaker family in which simplicity, peace, truth, equality, community and stewardship were household words. Following her desire to help create environments where all children have these privileges, she acquired a Bachelor of Arts at Gettysburg College and Master of Social Work degree at the University of Connecticut. After teaching elementary school, she worked briefly at the Gesell Institute of Child Development as a research assistant. From there she moved into community mental health where she promoted programs for children and families in CT and CA. Returning to CT, she worked as a school social worker until her retirement in 2010.

Active in the New Haven Friends Meeting, Bonnie was familiar with the founding spirit behind FCfC and was asked to serve as Mental Health Consultant when the Center opened. When Friends Center acquired a grant to hire a social worker as an in-school resource to address Adverse Childhood Experiences, Bonnie became a member of the staff. The FCfC organization has now adopted the position in which Bonnie continues to serve; she is now known as the Emotional Well-Being Coordinator. Developing emotional intelligence through establishing healthy classroom climates was a hallmark of her work in the public schools and continues to be a focus of her collaboration with children, staff and families. Bonnie also maintains a private practice as a Rubenfeld Synergist and LCSW.


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 Semi-Annually

Gateway Community College 

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
Elm City Montessori School
Yale Child Study Center
United Way- Circle of Security Program
NAEYC AccreditationNational Association for the Education of Young Children2014
Friends Council on EducationFriends Council on Education2013
CEO Comments

The challenge facing our organization relate to our extremely rapid growth. The demand for high quality early childhood education in a comprehensive way is critical.  We have had to make sure that our growth is intentional and thoughtful so that we can be true to our mission and ensure programmatic integrity at all times.

We have achieved growth and success in our current location. We are now exploring scaling in the form of replication and/or dissemination.   Funding remains our major obstacle. We remain clear in our plan. We have a very organized path to achieve success. We need more infrastructure to allow us to move forward with the most integrity.  Added infrastructure requires added funds.  This is our challenge.   

Board Chair
Mr. Scot Wrocklage
Company Affiliation Sikorsky
Term July 2013 to Dec 2017
Board of Directors
Mr. Joseph Aceto Bankwell
Mr. Michael Anderson New Haven Friends Meeting
Mrs. Barbara Angle n/a
Mr. Charlie Dear Riverside Financial Group, LLC
Mrs. Kathleen Galo International Security Studies, Yale University
Mr. Robert J. Harrity Jr.Principal, RII
Mrs. Sarah Healey Carmody, Torrence, Sendak and Hennessey
Dr. Miriam Jennings Pediatric Medicine of Wallingford, YNHH Pediatric Primary Care Center
Mrs. Wendy Kravitz New Haven Friends Meeting
Mrs. Linda Masci retired
Ms. Amy Migliore Engineering and Science University Magnet School, New Haven Public Schools
Mrs. Linda Miller New Haven Friends Meeting
Mr. Greg Moschetti New Haven Friends Meeting
Mrs. Alayne Mouradian n/a
Ms. Caroline Park Wiggin and Dana LLP
Mrs. Tina Post n/a
Mrs. Christin Sandweiss n/a
Mrs. Robin Sauerteig Community Volunteer
Ms. Allyx Schiavone
Mr. Steve Whinfield New Haven Friends Meeting
Mr. Orlando Yarborough
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 20
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 14
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 4
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Risk Management Provisions
Builders Risk
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2016
Fiscal Year End June 30 2017
Projected Revenue $1,278,840.00
Projected Expenses $1,309,280.00
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$3,772,302$3,289,115$493,801
Current Assets$464,435$1,639,693$465,239
Long-Term Liabilities$731,530$22,562$31,460
Current Liabilities$65,558$714,135$4,488
Total Net Assets$2,975,214$2,552,418$457,853
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountSeedlings Foundation $50,000Seedling Foundation $50,000Seedlings Foundation $50,000
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountThe Community Foundation for Greater New Haven $15,000United Illuminating Holding Corp. $29,786UI Holdings Corp. $29,786
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountBessemer Fund Foundation $10,063New Alliance $20,000New Alliance Foundation $20,000
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
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. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. 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 227 E Grand Ave
New Haven, CT 065134102
Primary Phone 203 468-1966
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Allyx Schiavone
Board Chair Mr. Scot Wrocklage
Board Chair Company Affiliation Sikorsky


Related Information

Provide Quality Education

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