For many parents, it’s one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make: Where do I send my child for daycare?
Heather Coleman, an associate professor and associate department chair of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, will be forever grateful that she chose the University’s Early Education and Child Care Center (EECCC) for her two children, who are now in the second and fourth grades at the HW Smith Pre-K-8 School in Syracuse.
“There is something very special about being able to drop your children off at a place where you know the teachers really care about your child’s whole person,” Coleman says. “The EECCC did so much more than provide childcare for us; they taught and modeled kindness and acceptance, as well as learning strategies to our children, and nurtured our whole family through busy and challenging times during my early career at Syracuse University.
“Our kids would come home with these elaborate projects–things that took weeks to create and required them to do research and explore different media types,” Coleman adds. “The teachers would guide them through researching an idea, drawing plans and implementing those plans–creating robots and rock insects and wind chimes, or whatever the class had decided they were interested in at the time. I still see, three and five years later, my children use strategies for creating and learning that they acquired at the EECCC.”
The EECCC and the University’s other childcare center, the Bernice M. Wright School (BMW), currently have openings for children 18 months to 5 years old who are children of benefits-eligible University faculty, staff and full-time students (children who met the New York State kindergarten cutoff date by turning 5 on or before Dec. 1 are not eligible). Visit the Child Care Centers webpage for more information on income-tiered tuition rates, hours of operation and how to apply.
Located on South Campus, the EECCC (for children 6 weeks to 5 years) and BMW (for children 18 months to 5 years) are supervised by Child Care Director Joan Fleet and managed by assistant directors Elizabeth Martini at EECCC and Sonia Nieves at BMW. Utilizing the Reggio Emilia Approach–an educational philosophy based on the image of a child with strong potentialities for development and a subject with rights–the centers are “two of the happiest places on Syracuse University’s campus,” Fleet says.
“The Early Education and Child Care Center and Bernice M. Wright School have proudly provided a warm and welcoming environment for young children and their families for over 50 years,” Fleet says. “Our Reggio-inspired curriculum is planned on the principles of respect, responsibility and community through exploration, discovery and play in our beautiful classrooms and outdoor play spaces.”
Fleet says the centers have not experienced the staff turnover that other childcare centers have faced. Many of the teachers have worked at the centers for more than 20 and up to 40 years, and in addition to providing high-quality, developmentally appropriate and inclusive care, the teachers are a fabulous resource for families who appreciate their experience and expertise.
“The teachers were a wealth of information about how to help kids who were having difficulties, struggling with transitions, or any of the many other things that come up in childhood,” Coleman says. “They were patient and caring and treated each child as an individual.”
Visit the webpage for more information about the centers and application information.