Earthplace Will Add Childcare

With the Y skedaddling from downtown, and no childcare facilities available in the new Mahackeno building, Westport parents are scrambling for alternatives.

Earthplace hopes to help.

EarthplaceIn September the non-profit adds an innovative all-day, 12-month program for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds to its already popular nursery school, summer day camp, nature programs, interactive natural history museum, live animal hall and 74-acre wildlife sanctuary.

The childcare program will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. During the school year, children will be based in the nursery school. In the summer they’ll participate in the summer camp.

Taking traditional childcare one step further, Earthplace will offer a developmentally appropriate environment that is immersed in nature. The program will include animal encounters, trail walks, habitat exploration, music, singing and gym.

The teacher-to-child ratio is 1:6. Teachers will schedule home visits to meet families before children enter the program.

Earthplace hosts an open house this Saturday (May 31, 10 a.m.-noon) for interested families. For more information, call 203-557-4400 or click on the Earthplace website.

5 responses to “Earthplace Will Add Childcare

  1. While I realize that Earthplace is simply responding to demand, I can’t help but wonder if 3 year old kids away from home 10 hours a day (plus travel) is truly “developmentally appropriate”. I guess we’ll all find out in 20 years. – Chris Woods

  2. Ann Marie Flynn

    Wow….Earthplace has definitely stepped up to the plate. So glad they did. Having been through the scenes of finding quality day care for the kids, Earthplace’s program looks wonderful and ” out of the box” with their educational plans.

  3. Elizabeth Thibault

    To the point of hours that children attend, I believe we might find that most aren’t there for the full duration of time, yet families need more than the 9-11:30/1-3:30 MWF schedule options generally offered by part-time programs. My husband and I both work altered schedules, where I work primarily from home and starting at 10AM, and my husband finishing by 4:30, but it’s not a schedule easily accommodated by programs that don’t cover the core hours.
    Parents want programs where their children are safe, healthy, emotionally supported, and challenged by developmentally appropriate activities. Warm and sensitive educators are also key to children’s sense of well-being at this age, which can also be more challenging to find. To get all this, PLUS the fit with other values that we believe in is a huge plus. There are factory style corporate run programs in surrounding towns, but the mission of education and development is secondary – we can do better than this for our children.
    My husband is eagerly awaiting the session on Saturday, to see the space and learn of the plans for the class. We have a sincere appreciation for the response of Earthplace’s leadership in responding to the needs of the youngest members of the community; this aligns with the strong traditions they’ve established over the years through their research, education, and advocacy. 06880 readers are involved and civic-minded, so I’m sure we all appreciate options that engage and encourage involvement from the earliest ages.

  4. Phil Perlah

    That’s great and their facilities/programs are perfect for pre-school children. But it’s not like Earth Place is down town.

  5. Tracy Flood

    Fantastic news!! Some new theories are developing – pointing to the importance of being at home with kids when they are 12-15. Much more so than when they are 4 and 5. No definitive outcomes yet, but I think it seems to make sense. Every family makes their own decisions about what works best for them, and having this option available is wonderful.