Gearing up for a new day starts early for the staff at the Salvation Army's Child Development Center. As early as 6 a.m. the teachers eagerly prepare for the day's activities and look forward to greeting the children.
Located at 351 Hilltop Lane, the Salvation Army, overseen by Captains Chuck and Julie Whiten, serves the community in a number of ways, one of which is its Child Development Center (CDC). Opening each morning at 7 a.m., the program provides a variety of activities that teach and motivate younger children, ages 3 to 5.
We share great aspirations for the future of the center, hoping "that the CDC remains a place that gives every child a chance to succeed and develop to their full potential. We want it to be fun and exciting so that children look forward to coming to the center."
On any given day if you walk into the CDC you may find the children engaged in circle time, where the classes gather to learn something new, or quiet time in which a new book is read, or arts and crafts when they make something that goes along with the day's lesson.
Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (N.A.E.Y.C.), the center is known for its high standards in young children's education. Teachers plan the curriculum to expand the children's learning environment and make learning fun by tying in the curriculum to everything the children do. Programs include Under the Sea Day where children learn about sea creatures, eat ocean-themed snacks and make crafts about the sea; and special programs, like Multicultural Day, where teachers and children dress up in ethnic clothing and learn about various cultures through crafts, books, games and foods. Through such programs we educate children in a fun and interactive way.
Those who attend the CDC come from all walks of life, representing a diversity of racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups. Children are encouraged to participate in activities that enhance their learning, increase their motor skills, and advance their social-emotional growth.
Our 10 center staff members are all certified or have a degree in early childhood education. One staff member, Andrea Legros, who works with the pre-school class, speaks about her experience: "From a teacher's point of view you really get into what you do and you truly care about each child. Each one has a story a tell."
Open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., the CDC has been operating since 1951 and is licensed to care for 80 children. The tuition per child is $90 per week and includes two meals and a snack each day. Mrs. Legros' daughter is also a student at the center, and she acknowledges that many parents pay more than $140 a week for the kind of care that these children receive. "I hope that the center expands in coming years as more parents come to know about the Salvation Army's Child Development Center and its wonderful program."