It Takes a Village0
Referring to growth, health, and safety, a famous African proverb states, "It takes a village to raise a child." After discovering that the zip code of 49001 did not have enough services to accommodate the number of children living within the area, the YWCA Edison Children’s Center (Edison Children’s Center) put this proverb into practice and created a solution that addresses both early learning and childcare.
As a resource that is open to families, Edison Children’s Center features an array of activities that include yoga, cooking, art, intentional play, gardening, and more. Programs include 24/7 drop-in care for ages 0-12 years old and a blended model for ages 0-3.
“Our curriculum focuses on children’s developmental needs and milestones,” explained Tricia Ryan, Senior Director of Improving Lives of Children. “We want to promote quality early childhood learning experiences with every family.”
The center’s blended age model for children up to 3 years old does just that.
“We want to set these children up for success in the educational system, even if kids have a lot of risk factors,” shared Family and Community Liaison Sandra Calderon-Huezo. “If they are in an early learning program, their outcomes are better. We are improving the lives of children at the intersection of education and equity.”
In addition to meeting childcare and educational needs, the Edison Children’s Center also acts as a network of support for families that keeps them tied to Kalamazoo. As it stands, family applications are being accepted based on needs.
“Our signup process follows a prioritization list,” Calderon-Huezo stated. “We make sure that all our applicants’ requirements are being documented over time. If someone is lower on the waitlist but a need arises, they can climb in priority.”
The staff at the Edison Children’s Center consists of professionals with Child Development Associates (CDA) as well as participants in the Edison Early Childhood Education Career Pathway. These individuals will work toward earning a CDA.
“This is an investment in Kalamazoo’s workforce,” Ryan said. “Our staff will undergo intense early learning, trauma-informed, and racial justice training. This is an important component for our employees’ education as it relates to the population we work with.”
Although this project is still in its pilot stage, there is hope that it will continue to grow into something more and serve as a catalyst for other home-based services in the Edison Neighborhood.
Interested in learning more about how the Edison Early Childhood Education Career Pathway provides a talent pipeline for Early Learning Professionals? Then connect with our previous blog! For more information on the Edison Children’s Center, visit the group’s website.