Early Childhood Education

Dr. Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Policy and Early Learning and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten read to Sugar Hill Museum Preschool students during the press conference for the release of the National Institute for Early Education Research’s 2016  report. During her visit, Dr. Doggett remarked “This is one of the best centers I have ever been in in my life!” Photo by Michael Palma.

Since 2003, BHC has provided high quality arts-infused early childhood education programs for resident and neighborhood children. Together, BHC’s two early childhood centers have the capacity to serve over 250 children from birth to age five and their families.

Investment in early childhood education is widely acknowledged to be critical to the health of our economy and the wellbeing of our children, yet New York State has fallen to 24th nationally for state funding per child. The impact of that neglect falls most harshly on the youngest in poor and new immigrant communities. Recent research has found that participation in high quality early education programs boosts the performance of the most disadvantaged children and contributes to a 20-50% reduction in income-related school readiness gaps.

BHC has long recognized the vital role of high quality early education to support positive outcomes for underserved children and their families, including the formerly homeless, those living near or below the federal poverty line and new immigrants with limited or no English language skills.

BHC’s Dorothy Day Early Childhood Center and Sugar Hill Museum Preschool offer full day center-based preschool programs and home-visiting programs for infants and toddlers that promote school readiness, physical health, social-emotional and cognitive development, and family engagement. Critical services at both centers include intensive parenting education programs that provide the framework and tools for parents to support the development of their children’s oral and literacy skills; enrichment opportunities both inside and outside the classroom that provide culturally-competent early literacy intervention to reduce or eliminate the enormous “word gap” between low-income and more affluent children; identification of special needs, medical assessments and coordinated medical services; mental health assessments and support for parents and children; and ongoing school placement support.

Funders’ assessments and independent evaluators’ research confirm that BHC’s early childhood programs produce all of the positive outcomes that high-quality early education promises, setting the foundation for subsequent success in school, college, and career.

Dorothy Day Early Childhood Center

Dorothy Day Early Childhood Center provides a full-day center-based Head Start program for three to five year-olds.  The Center is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 2:45 pm from September through July.

Serving over 50 families from Dorothy Day Apartments and the neighboring community, the early childhood education program combines the use of an arts-based curriculum and a safe, stimulating environment to create meaningful experiences for children.  By focusing on nurturing eight development domains, children are able to develop critical thinking skills and intellectual curiosity that support their future educational success.

Our dedicated and highly trained teaching staff focus on creating active learning experiences around art, object-based learning, literacy, character building, physical activity and social and emotional development.

The Center also offers comprehensive supportive services in the areas of nutrition, health, dental care, special education, parent skill workshops and social services.

Sugar Hill Museum Preschool

BHC’s newest early childhood center, the Sugar Hill Museum Preschool, extends the reach and impact of our successful early childhood program piloted at Dorothy Day Apartments.

The educational capstone of BHC’s most recent community revitalization initiative known as the Sugar Hill Project, the Sugar Hill Museum Preschool has the capacity to serve up to 200 children from birth to age five and their families in center- and home-based programs. Eight state-of-the-art light-filled classrooms designed by internationally acclaimed architect David Adjaye and a partnership with the onsite Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling create an oasis for children and families to explore, learn and grow.


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