I have been in the Early Childhood Field for over 10 years. About 6 years ago I begin to work at a Head Start program in New Haven as a Teacher for children under the age of 5 years old. I very quickly became intrigued by the Head Start Model and all that was available to the children and families who qualified to attend such programs. For those of you who are not aware of Head Start, it is a federally funded program that serves children and families at or below poverty guidelines for the past 50 years. 
Here, I was able to gain a multitude of experience and knowledge around a high quality program and see first hand the benefits for children who are able to participate in this type of setting.

Classrooms were designed so that children who attended partake in mixed age group settings, allowing them the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with caregivers, over longer periods of times. Teaching staff used a researched based curriculum, assessment system that aligned with the state Standards and developmental screenings to ensure the highest quality of education was being provided to children. Staff worked together with families to individualize based on each child’s needs and collaborated with parents to ensure consistency between home and school. What a wonderful concept this was and I was honored to be part of it!

Fast forward three years, my husband and I were expecting our first child. I did have the option of bringing our daughter to the program being that I was an employee, which I eventually did. However, I was now the Education Manager overseeing this component and directly supervising all staff, including the ones that would care for my daughter. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to mix work with my personal life as a mother. Given the situation, I quickly started to look for private centers in our area and neighboring towns to weigh out our options. But I was at a loss.

I wanted my child to participate in a setting that allowed her to remain in the same environment for a longer period of time.

I wanted her to build strong bonds and attachments to peers and caregivers so that she enjoyed going to school everyday and developed a positive relationship with a school environment.

As parents we wanted to really trust and confide in the teacher who would care for her since she was just four months old. After all, this was our biggest accomplishment yet.

My husband and I went on many tours and visited great programs throughout the area. But there was always something missing at each program we went to. I wanted and expected so much more for my daughter and ourselves as hard working parents. I wanted and expected the same rich environment that I pushed for daily from my teaching staff. I wanted my child to participate in a setting that allowed her to remain in the same environment for a longer period of time. I wanted her to build strong bonds and attachments to peers and caregivers so that she enjoyed going to school everyday and developed a positive relationship with a school environment. As parents we wanted to really trust and confide in the teacher who would care for her since she was just four months old. After all, this was our biggest accomplishment yet.

My major struggle while searching for childcare was that children were separated by ages. There was a newborn room, one’s room and so on. This is very common for privately owned center based programs and although it too has its pro’s and con’s, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted for her. I also found that most centers used a curriculum created by the director themselves. Again, this has its pro’s and con’s, but I wanted her play to be developed around a curriculum and assessment system that individuated for her needs and aligned with state standards. I wanted the best for her and for us. It was then that I realized I needed to create a program within my community that allowed all children from various economic backgrounds to have equal opportunities and exposure to high quality education that I was use to. And so my search began.

We recently had our second daughter in June of 2015, right before purchasing property here in our home town of North Haven for a Child Development Center. I am now working very hard to create that same atmosphere for my program, staff, children and families that I fell in love with 6 years ago when I began working at Head Start.

I hope to create a space that allows children to create an ongoing love for learning to take with them as they grow throughout their life. I hope to create a space that parents feel welcomed and can trust their child in our care knowing that we will always provide the highest quality of educational services.