What child care center in the U.S. can say they had a Google Meet with someone from London who signed their child up for care? BVSD’s Early Connections can! With a new coordinator, new teachers, new business plan and word of mouth, the facility has grown from 6 children to 31 in just a few months.
The Early Connections program started over 20 years ago at Fairview High School as a center to care for children of teen moms.
Years later when it moved to the Arapahoe Ridge location, it was part of the Career and Technical Education program for early childhood education. Then it became a child care center for children of BVSD teachers and was only open around teachers’ schedules and was closed on holidays and over the summer. None of these plans remained sustainable. In 2018, the center moved under the direction of Community Schools.
“We changed the program so we now have an Early Childhood Large Center Director qualified person, Luanna Cox, overseeing the site,” said Renee Williams, Executive Director of Community Schools. “We opened the center year-round and we started using the Creative Curriculum program for infants and toddlers, which is the same program that the Early Childhood Education Department uses for preschool. The center supports teen parents, employee’s children, families that qualify for CCAP (Child Care Assistance Program) and the general public.”
The decision to grow the center began in spring 2021. The center needed someone to oversee the program every day, to grow it, to train the staff and to make sure the curriculum was in place.
“It’s truly all Luanna and her leadership skills,” added Williams. “She knows what it takes to run an infant and toddler program and that is not easy. She has the trust of her staff, many of them she brought with her. The fact that we started with 6 children and we now have 31 is a testament to quality leadership and a quality team.”
“When I started on July 19, 2021 we weren’t open at the time and I was the only employee,” said Luanna Cox, Early Connections Coordinator. “The plan was to open the center on Aug. 4, 2021. We did, and we had 3 teachers and 7 kids to start. Now we’ll have 31 kids by Jan. 1, 2022. It’s working. We don’t even have to advertise, word of mouth is getting out there.”
Located at 6500 Arapahoe Road, the center provides infant and toddler care Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 530 p.m. for ages 6 weeks to 36 months. They can legally take babies as young as 7 days old for teen parents, if necessary. There are now 8 teachers (4 supervisors and 4 assistants). The center can hold up to 20 infants and 20 toddlers.
“When we all sat in the conference room talking about how we were going to make it work to open on Aug. 4, we had diagrams on the dry erase board,” said Kim Black, Assistant Director of Community Schools.” “Luanna stood up, walked to the board and said this is how I would do it. She had arrows pointing here and there. I was like, everyone be quiet. She knows what she’s doing, just sit back and watch.”
And they did listen. Now, Early Connections provides a safe, nurturing environment in a licensed facility with experienced caregivers who provide stimulating play and age-appropriate activities to support all areas of development. The center is also one of the very few in Boulder offering special rates for low-income families.
Learn more about Early Connections, including pricing and registration information: https://childcare.bvsd.org/earlyconnections.
There is currently still space available. Interested parents and guardians are encouraged to come visit the center and take a tour. Or, if you’re from London and plan on moving here soon, we’ll be happy to meet with you via Google Meets!