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DCDC celebrated the Week of the Young Child during April. The annual celebration is sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association, with nearly 60,000 members and a network of 52 Affiliates.The purpose of the Week of the Young Child® is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child® in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child® is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.Even though we do science activities each day, our teachers added some extra fun and engaging science concepts for the week. Volcanoes, caterpillars, digging in the dirt (like real, actual dirt) were just some of the additional hands-on exciting activities that happened during the week.

In 1974, Nancy Vella and Kathleen Mulligan opened the doors to the Danville Day Care Center for Child Development with 6 children in a church basement. Nancy Vella was a nurse with an interest in working with young children with special needs. Kathleen had just finished her Masters in Education and was working as a speech therapist, who herself, had dealt with issues related to the lack of child care while she was earning her degrees. It is with this foundation, that DCDC was born.

The lack of available child care for young mothers working or pursuing education, coupled with the segregation of children with special needs, gave rise to the inspiration for the goal of: an integrated instructional setting in full daycare; a Nursery Program also fully integrated; Speech assessments; and at some point a special needs program for the more severely involved children.

DCDC has come a long way from that first visionary goal. DCDC has grown into a recognized early learning organization serving over 400 children annually. With two centers to call its own, DCDC couldn’t exist as the beacon of excellence it is today with our dedicated staff of 40+ employees.

DCDC has served as a model of leadership and excellence within the early learning community since its early days. Touted as a model inclusive program by a former Department of Public Welfare Deputy Secretary, DCDC also has the distinction of being the only nationally accredited, PA Department of Education (PDE) licensed preschool in the two county area for 20 years. DCDC has also been a participant in the Commonwealth’s Keystone STARS program since its pilot in 2001 where it received its STAR 4 rating, the highest quality rating of the system.

During the last 10 years, DCDC has seen tremendous growth, including the purchase of a new preschool and school age site and expansion of our early intervention home visitation program. The $1.2m purchase and repurposing of the old Danville Auto Auction site on Bloom Road has allowed DCDC to expand and create additional services for the community’s children.

DCDC’s home visiting early intervention program has seen a 40% increase in growth over the past five years between an expansion into Northumberland County and an increase in the need for services.

Despite our local reputation for being a program for “only children with special needs”, DCDC now provides early learning services to all children regardless of ability or socio-economic level.

We offer a variety of child care enrollment options, with both of our preschool programs having their PDE license. Our Wall Street center offers full and part time care and early education, while our Bloom Rd center offers a full day preschool program, as well as before and after care, and summer care for school age students.

With over 80% of teachers having educational degrees, DCDC is poised to provide the highest quality early learning experiences to all children, from infants through school age.

Once COVID settles down, we are looking forward to getting back to providing our My Toddler & Me classes and our Playgroup at Bloom Rd.

DCDC provides early intervention services to children ages birth – three. As one of the original providers of home based early intervention programming, our growing team of teachers and therapists provide key developmental supports to children across all socio-economic strata in Columbia, Montour and Northumberland counties.

DCDC also has tuition assistance available for families through the United Way and the EITC program.

DCDC continues to be an active part of its community, supporting causes and organizations that are near and dear to their heart. These include being a collection site for Danville’s Community Christmas Tree, involvement with the March of Dimes March for Babies, and the annual Children’s Fair at the Columbia Mall (when it’s not a pandemic!). Program leadership is actively involved with the Press Enterprise’s Brighter Christmas Fund and DCDC is now the Danville Area’s fiscal agent. DCDC is a member of both the Danville Business Alliance and the Columbia-Montour Chamber of Commerce.