A New York City leader dropped by University Settlement's Children's Corner to learn how the childhood center in East New York is preparing young children for a rich future.
Council Member Inez Barron (District 42) toured the Brooklyn center on Monday. She praised the impressive amount of parental involvement and the high-quality facility designed for early education. It was part of an effort by the retired veteran teacher to explore early childhood programs in her district and find out what's working.
Children's Corner focuses on serving vulnerable Brooklyn families by offering a range of effective play-based curriculums, engaging families, and connecting parents to the resources they need. Many parents become more involved with the center through monthly parents' councils and use other US programs such as Project Home – an eviction prevention program that helps people stay in their homes. The early childhood center also offers a classroom for special needs children and a mental health program for young children coping with a traumatic event, like being separated from a caregiver.
We took ownership of the facility in 2009 and immediately got to work fixing up the center, which had fallen into disrepair. Since then, we've improved the space dramatically and expanded programming to meet the community's needs.
Council Member Barron explored the spacious, well-maintained facility, which includes 11 classrooms, computers, a library, and a rooftop playground. She remarked on the numerous fathers who attended "Dads Take Your Child to School Day" this month, evidenced by adult and kid-sized paint prints that mark craft paper.
Council Member Barron also sat down with Senior Program Director Karen Cohen and Associate Executive Director Takiema Bunche-Smith to discuss the history of Children's Corner and education and housing issues that affect families in the community.