Thirty-two years ago the Sandy Hook Child Care Center, a parent-run non-profit daycare and state licensed preschool opened to the public in 1980 established by parents working at the James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory on Sandy Hook.
Now Sandy Hook Child Care Center of New Jersey is reaching out to all communities for help.
Sandy Hook Child Care Center is located in an historic Officer's Row home at the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area. Like most areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, it has crippled Sandy Hook. Other than a tree that fell in the opposite direction of the school, the rest of the building was unharmed thankfully.
Due to these unfortunate circumstances, though, the park has had to close and anyone who is not a government-authorized person is prohibited access the park for safety precautions. Regrettably, we had to temporarily close our little school and lay off our staff until the park lifts all restrictions.
We’ve reached out to FEMA for aid but we do not qualify for assistance being our building did not sustain any damage. Because we are a non-profit organization, our business relies heavily on tuition.
Therefore, without any incoming monthly tuition, our center is going through financial challenges and we will have to keep the school closed longer than we anticipated until we raise the funds to be fully operational.
Tuition, our main source of income, pays for our lease, staff payroll, utilities and a portion of the food and supplies.
As we patiently wait for the park to reopen, the all-parent volunteer board has dedicated itself to keeping this school alive. Even though we understand other well established child care centers are available, we feel our school is unique and irreplaceable. The location alone on Sandy Hook is a privilege to be part of, and more than a historical home to the children that enroll.
To help you understand why we feel this school is very special and worth saving we would like to share some background on the school. Our location on Sandy Hook rewards us with a natural, simple way to learn about the world around us. A walk in the park or a stroll on the beach helps the children understand the value of our environment by merely experiencing everything around them.
We are an eco-friendly environment where the teacher-to-child ratio is very intimate, as our maximum capacity each day is 15 children. Teachers take an individual approach with each child, fostering independence, respecting their personality, talents, sensitivities, and abilities. The teachers develop routines that frame the child’s early year development through working in the garden, enjoying a craft, dancing, singing, reading, math and science.
In the summers, the toddlers 2-5 years old participate in the Jr. Park Ranger Program providing additional experience in nature on land and water. This opportunity is an experience a child may not receive anywhere else.
Over the past month, parents came together to meet and find a way to keep the kids and staff together. The children were so excited to see each other and the teachers, it was like family that was getting together after a long time. We would all share similar stories of our kids asking us every day “am I going to school today or can I go back to school?”.
We now know that the Park is in the process of opening to only Park based organizations, officials and partners. We can only hope that while we wait and our bank account diminishes, it does not force us to make a decision that would break our children’s hearts.
We want to continue to share the amazing developmental growth opportunities and the unique surroundings experience of our school to future generations and their families.
Please help us with a monetary donation in any amount during the process of saving our school so that we can be up and ready to go in this spring and put a smile back on our children’s faces.
If you like to make a donation to help us reopen SHCCC, please go to our website and click on the PayPal link or mail to the address below.
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Sandy Hook Child Care Center
335 Pennington Avenue
Highlands, NJ 07732
The All Parent Board of the Sandy Hook Child Care Center of NJ
**Important Note: Please be advised that Sandy Hook Child Center of New Jersey is “not” associated with Sandy Hook Elementary in CT., and our hearts go out to all families impacted by the SH Elementary tragedy. Our child care center is a separate non-profit organization.**