Decades of research investigating early childhood care and education provide clear evidence that high-quality early experiences set children on a positive developmental trajectory.

Children with access to reliable healthcare, who live in families who are engaged in the workforce, and who receive high-quality early care and education have better early school experiences and ultimately experience better life outcomes than children who do not.

CHILD Center staff sit outside with a group of young children.

We provide high quality and evidence-based early care and education services to children and families from the SWAG communities and beyond. Our staff work to prepare our students for entry into kindergarten not only by emphasizing traditional academic skills but also by cultivating children’s social and emotional development in a positive, fun way.

Parents and children enter the CHILD Center, which is open as of August 13, 2018.

The CHILD Center offers the following family education opportunities:

  • Informal learning through volunteering in children’s classrooms
  • Informal family support groups where families will come together to discuss effective parenting strategies
  • Parent/child engagement sessions to encourage the ‘serve and return’ interactions supportive of healthy brain development

In addition, active partnerships with other agencies support connections and coordination of outside services for children and families when needed.

Two CHILD Center staff members work together to develop skills in the Zucker Center's Practice-Based Coaching model

A primary function of a true model and demonstration site is to support knowledge dissemination and diffusion of practices that are evidence-based and practically applied in the field of Early Care and Education. To fulfill this function, the CHILD Center offers the following:

  • Teacher professional development workshops for early childhood professionals throughout Alachua County
  • On-the-job training and professional development to aspiring teachers

Our apprenticeship program not only provides a new model for workforce development in a field mired by low-wages but also supports job growth among the SWAG community by providing training and opportunity for career advancement. The CHILD Center actively works to cultivate the necessary leadership skills (e.g. effective supervision, coaching, fiscal planning, operations management) among the “Gatekeepers of Quality” within Early Care and Education Programs in Alachua county and beyond.

The front entrance of the CHILD Center, soft yellow with a blue logo over the door.

The physical site of the CHILD Center offers a unique learning and collaboration space available to community members in Alachua County and the surrounding areas. Community members can:

  • Learn from the practices of the CHILD Center
  • Observe evidence-based early learning experiences in action
  • Convene stakeholder meetings to discuss ongoing community engagement and early care and education system improvement.

For example, the CHILD Center could host college courses endeavoring to prepare an Early Care and Education workforce. This could include interdisciplinary courses convening students from diverse academic disciplines (e.g., Health, Social Work, Education) to learn about the importance of interagency, multi-sector collaboration to support healthy growth and development of young children and their families.