History

  • 1969 – Appraisal made of “Building C” behind Major Lathrop house. The one story dwelling built in 1958 was found to be in good condition. Rachel Kurt wrote a letter to Mr. Bullard, First Selectman, in support of the town purchasing the building for use as a daycare facility.
  • 1970 – Dr. Maurice Wakeman, a Guilford Pediatrician, wrote to the First Selectman that the “Child Day Care Center” in Guilford wanted to go on record as “requesting the building on the southeast corner of the recently purchased Lathrop property for use as a day care center.” Dr. Wakeman stressed that, “The Center would not be providing babysitting services but, rather, a place where a woman who wanted to work, but could not because of her child care responsibilities, could leave her child in good care and pursue a job. “ From there a temporary Board of Directors were formed to begin work on organizational and financial tasks. A survey of the town’s social workers, public health nursing association, schools, and Puerto Rican community had indicated a need for the Center.
  • 1971 – On February 8th in the state of Connecticut. The proposal for the day care center went to a Town Meeting on February 23rd would come from three sources: 1) a direct town contribution in the use of the building (rent, repairs ,upkeep), 2) the services of consultants and volunteers, and 3) cash to be paid by enrollees’ families. With over 150 people present at the meeting there was “overwhelming support to the Board of Selectmen to apply for a day care center.” Work on the building was scheduled to begin on November 1st that the Center would open on January 1, 1972.
  • 1972 – The Center opened in early 1972. Enrollment rose from the single digits to the teens and then went into the twenties in this first year.
  • 1974 – The Board began to pressure Hartford for funding for substitute teachers. Later, in 1974, the Board reported that they were planning to go to the town for funding for substitutes. In September of that year, the town extended insurance benefits to the teacher aides at the Center and included substitute money in the town budget.
  • 1976-1989, the Center continued to have 26 preschool children enrolled who needed care because their parents were working or enrolled in school. A state grant provided the majority of funding. The town of Guilford continued to rent the building to the Board of Directors for use as a daycare Center. The Center took over the responsibility of repairs and maintenance to the building and for insurance. The town began supporting the Center through funding from the Human Services Council. Originally, this was used to provide a substitute fund. When the state changed its method of funding for state day care centers from a grant to a unit rate system, the money provided by the Human Service Council helped to make up the deficit that was created. At that time, the day care center also began applying for and receiving funding from Guilford Community Fund, which is used to offset the cost of hiring substitutes.
  • 1978 – The Board began investigating an After School Care Program for elementary school children. The Board surveyed parents, discovered interest, received official backing from the Board of Education, and received some financial assistance from the town and the Guilford Foundation.
  • 1979 – The After School Program opened at A. W. Cox Elementary School with 23 children enrolled. For several years, the programs operated at A.W. Cox and Calvin Leete Elementary Schools by providing before and after school care and some before and after Kindergarten care. The objective of the program was established and continue through to today. They include: to prevent children of Guilford from assuming “latchkey” status thus risking unsafe, disorganized, inappropriate and otherwise dangerous experiences both in the home and community; to provide a safe, relaxed and nurturing environment which encourages and stimulates skill development in all areas; to maintain high quality and affordable care for school age children so families can work, continue their education, or pursue other interests; to insure that all families of Guilford have access to Before and After School Care Programs, including those with special needs; to maintain a qualified staff who possess basic knowledge of child development and behavior management strategies and have the organizational abilities to synthesize this knowledge into appropriate and stimulating social and recreational activities for children.
  • 1989 – The Board of Directors applied for and received a state grant of $75,000 and a matching private grant to expand the Center. The renovations included expanding and relocating the kitchen, the addition of a Quiet Room, the expansion of the Cubby Room, and a second floord over a portion of the building. The second floor renovations included an office, a staff bathroom, workroom, and teacher’s room. These renovations made it possible for all activities concerning the Center to be located in one building. Once the renovations were complete, the Center became licensed for 28 children. In the years that followed, additional renovations were made.
  • 1995 – The day care center became accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
  • 1997-1998 – In response to a survey sent to elementary school parents, a recess week child care program was discussed.
  • 1999 – In February, the first school recess week child care program was opened at Calvin Leete Elementary School from 7:00am-6:00pm for four days. After discussion with school principals, it was agreed that the winter recess week would be held at the Leete site and the spring recess week would be held at the Cox site. The new program was open to all three elementary schools that the Guilford Before and After School Program served. This new program assisted many parents and continues to today. This same year, the daycare Center began looking into ways to be able to provide more child care slots for the community as the waiting list had grown quite long. A search began for a center that would be a “satellite” of the main program. Many locations and buildings were visited with this purpose in mind.
  • 2003-2004 – As the need for before and after school care grew, the before and after school program also grew. There were several programs that were not offered in all of the elementary schools therefore transportation from one site to another was the only way that some children could participate in the program. Parents were grateful for the programs that were offered and hoped that one day the programs would be offered in all of the elementary schools. The transportation had become more difficult and costly to the program and the children spent more time being bussed from site to site than actually enjoying the benefits of the program. After several meetings with the school principals, the superintendent of schools, and the Board of Directors, the goal to have every child enrolled remain in their individual school was completed. All three programs; before school, AM and PM Kindergarten care, and after school care were offered in all three elementary schools – A.W. Cox, Calvin Leete, and Guilford Lakes. By this time, the enrolled grew from 62 children in 1995 to 355 children and continue to increase. Parents were grateful that their children could remain in their own elementary school for the program.
  • 2004 – While still looking into new buildings for the satellite center for the day care, it was learned that the lease would not be renewed in 2009 due to further expansion of the Guilford Library. The search then became one of finding a new site that would house the present program and also allow additional space for expansion. There was a strong desire to remain downtown in order to continue the long history of enjoying all that this location has to offer while remaining convenient for parents who take I-95 to work. Guilford Center for Children made a proposal to the Woodruff Farm committee that a new building could be built on a piece of the Woodruff Farm, which the town had purchased. After meeting with various town committees and receiving Town approval, Guilford Center for Children leased one acre of land and two barns situated there for the purpose of creating a larger day care center that would preserve the character of the area.
  • 2009 – Through the Small Town Economic Assistance Program and the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority, funding was in place and ground for the new center was broken.
  • 2010 – Construction of the first floor of the new center was completed and the Center opened with three full classrooms on June 21, 2010. In September, the fourth classroom was opened bringing enrollment to the goal of 60 children with a staff of 15. That same year, the Before and After School Care program established a summer program in order to assist the needs of Guilford Public Schools Extended School Year Program. The Guilford Before and After School Care Program was asked to collaborate with the Extended Year Program by providing the social skills portion of the day for special needs children. The summer “camp” program is located at one elementary school and serves approximately 125 children. The camp program includes a variety of daily activities indoors and outdoors as well as special weekly events. The special needs children participate for about 1 ½ hours and enjoy the typical peer connection after their academic portion of the day. Due to the popularity of the program, some of the special needs children enroll for the remainder of their day.
  • 2011 – In February, a fund raising campaign for a playground was started by B. Joan Hickey, a grandmother of a child in the program, and the Director, Pamela Orton. The fund raising goal was met, via grants, individual contributions, and a benefit gala held at the Hickey home and the playground was constructed in April. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in May of 2011. In the fall of 2011, the center received $50,000 in state funding to begin work on the second floor.
  • 2012 – In December, the second floor of the Center was completed and was open for use. This space house a multi-purpose room which includes an art space and a children’s kitchen area. A teachers’ room was added as well as a space for meetings of the Board of Directors. A final touch to the site came about the same time that the second floor was completed with the paving of the parking lot, paid for through a donation of the Guilford Savings Bank, through the Neighborhood Assistance Act.
  • Past – Present – Future – Those who came before us established a tradition of putting untold hours of volunteer effort into making the dream of Guilford Center for Children come true. The members of the Board of Directors are following in their footsteps by working hard to make sure that the day care center and the before and after school program remain an integral part of the community.