They learn about art, music, literature, movement, nutrition, dramatic play, nature and safety.
The Family Day Nursery at 224 Broad St. in Bloomfield serves children who are 2 ½ to six years old and its mission is to provide an enriching educational experience for children while, at the same time, offering affordable day care for families.
“Our philosophy is to instill in each child a feeling of self worth, to feel good about themselves, and to take care of themselves in this world of ours,” said Eva Chalet, the director of the school.
At the end of August, Family Day marked a new chapter. It re-opened its doors after the building got a $20,000 rehabilitation, thanks to Community Development Block Grant and additional funds from The United Way, Neighbor to Neighbor Network, and local businesses.
Currently, 65 children attend Family Day Nursery, and supporters say the school is integral in providing affordable care for working families. Priority for enrollment is given to Bloomfield residents and some families pay on a sliding scale. One parent must be working for a child to be eligible to attend.
“There’s such a need because so many are devastated by the economy,” said Mayor Raymond J. McCarthy. “In order [for parents] to work, kids need to be in a safe and sound environment, so that’s why we opened this school.
“The goal of the program is to provide a local day care that’s safe, has a creative learning environment, and is affordable,” said Karen Lore, acting director of the township’s Dept. of Health and Human Services. “That allows families to continue to be able to work and have peace of mind that their children are well cared for.”
Lore said several community partners came together to allow Family Day to stay in businesses. The Neighbor to Neighbor Network, a non-profit that is funded by Partners for Health, and the United Way are some of the organizations involved. The League of Family Services is responsible for maintaining the school.
Chalet said special attention was given to make the school a learning environment – everything from the color of the paint on the walls to children learning by doing, “[We] provide an individualized learning environment for the children. They learn by discovery of the environment around them.”
Family Day helps children build knowledge through bringing lessons to life. “We don’t teach readiness skills by sitting a child down with a work book and a pencil. Children of preschool age don’t learn this way. They learn through movement, play, and active participation in a learning environment prepared by the teacher,” Chalet said.
Parents are also encouraged to get involved. Chalet said there are meetings and information nights for parents and they’re also invited to serve on their advisory board. “Family Day Nursery serves the family as well as the child,” she said. The staff also includes a social worker who is available to parents for no-cost consultation and discussions.
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