Balancing the demands of both professional and personal lives can sometimes prove quite challenging — uniquely so for parents with infants and toddlers.
In an effort to address some of these challenges, Yale is opening a sixth affiliated child-care center. Slated to open its doors in August, the Nest at Alphabet Academy will be located on Science Hill, in a newly renovated space in Curtis Hall at the Yale Divinity School.
The center will be licensed to accommodate up to 24 infants and toddlers (ages 3 months to 3 years old), and operated by Alphabet Academy, a local, family-owned company with two early learning centers currently in Hamden. Consistent with the company’s other centers, the Nest at Alphabet Academy will focus on strong home-school connections, learning through inquiry, outdoor play, and a healthy food program.
The Nest is now accepting applications for enrollment; children of Yale faculty members will be given placement priority. Operating hours will be Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We hope that this center will be great news for parents of small children — including those who work around the Science Hill area who might seek an additional resource,” says Frances Rosenbluth, deputy provost for faculty development and diversity. “By expanding the child-care offerings on campus, we hope to support working parents — including expectant parents — who face the responsibilities associated with raising children.”
Rosenbluth and chief diversity officer Deborah Stanley-McAulay led the efforts to bring this center to campus, pulling together a task force for childcare expansion. During a five-month assessment period, the task force reviewed, interviewed, and conducted site visits with a number of potential providers —ultimately selecting Alphabet Academy.
“We are very pleased with the selection of Alphabet Academy — both for the quality of attentive care and for the character of its program,” adds Stanley-McAulay. “We hope that parents find this nurturing environment a much-needed addition. Also, expanding childcare at Yale will enable us to recruit and retain well-trained staff and faculty, as well as helping to increase employee morale overall."
One person who knows very well the dynamics that employees face when juggling a career with parenthood is Susan Abramson, manager for the WorkLife and Child Care program. Every year, Abramson counsels numerous individual faculty and staff members, postdocs, and graduate students, in search of appropriate child-care resources, both at Yale and throughout the greater New Haven area.
Having served on the task force, Abramson says she is delighted that the campus will offer one more child-care option to complement the current range of NAEYC-accredited centers.
“Finding a child-care center that one feels is a trusting and caring environment is invaluable to a parent’s peace of mind,” says Abramson. “And having it within closer proximity to where they work or study is an additional relief for many parents, especially when a child is sick or needs immediate attention.”
“Yale already has five unique and high-quality affiliated centers — each with a distinct philosophy and approach to early education. This sixth center — our second center dedicated to infants and toddlers — should be a wonderfully welcomed addition.”
But, Abramson adds, “Because of the facility’s size, I expect slots will be in high demand. I suggest that anyone with interest contact the center or attend one of the ‘Meet and Greet’ events sooner rather than later.”
Interested Yale families are encouraged to explore their options and to learn more about the placement process, registration, tuition, and dates of upcoming open houses and deadlines by visiting http://thealphabetacademy.com/thenest. Yale parents may also contact the center’s director, Amy Small, directly at 203-436-2378, or Susan Abramson at 203-432-8069.
Abramson also encourages parents to visit the WorkLife website (www.yale.edu/worklife/childcare), which details information about other local and Yale-affiliated child-care centers, which currently include:
- Bright Horizons Child Care Center at Yale's West Campus, serving children 6 weeks through 5 years (plus back-up child care and summer programs)
- Calvin Hill Day Care Center and Kitty Lustman Findling Kindergarten, serving children 3 years through kindergarten
- Edith B. Jackson Child Care Center, serving children 3 months through 5 years
- Phyllis Bodel Childcare Center at the Yale School of Medicine serving children 6 weeks through kindergarten
- Yale Law School Early Learning Center, serving children 3 months through 3 years