9.15 2019

Joining forces to make New Haven a model for quality and access in ECE

New Haven Children’s Ideal Learning District (NH ChILD) is a vision, a movement, an imperative that relies deeply on connections — one where educators, organizations, municipalities, families and community members all work together to give all 15,000 children in New Haven, ages 0 – 8, access to high-quality early learning experiences called “Ideal Learning.”

As a champion of ideal learning and equity in access to it, Friends Center has helped lead the charge towards making NH ChILD a reality. Empowered by the expertise and contributions of early childhood leaders, advisors, and donors — including a million dollar gift from a Stones Throw Foundation — the work is well under way.

In the spring of 2019, NH ChILD hired Dr. Wendy Waithe Simmons as its first Executive Director. Dr. Simmons is a psychologist and educator with more than 25 years of experience in service to children and families. “I believe that all children deserve to have multiple pathways toward success. I am proud to be a part of an organization that values equity, community, collaboration, and children and their families. I will work diligently to ensure that every child in New Haven has access to high-quality early learning experiences. I understand that when children have a strong start in life, they can dream big dreams. They can follow their passions and interests — no matter where they may lead. I am thrilled to have a role in making that a reality.”

NH ChILD invites collaboration among all stakeholders within the New Haven community to develop shared solutions bringing high-quality early care and education to all children in New Haven.

Working with the Office of the Mayor, New Haven Public Schools, Yale School of Medicine, Bank Street College of Education, New Haven Housing Authority, United Way and many other partners, NH ChILD has set a bold agenda:

  • Access to sufficient high quality infant/toddler and preschool spaces to meet family demand;
  • Simplify the ECE application process to a single point of entry;
  • Design a sustainable public funding source so that families pay what they can afford;
  • Promote family engagement; and
  • Develop continuous professional learning experiences and ECE career pathways for educators.