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West Haven Child Development Center, West Haven

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201 Noble St # 3
West Haven, CT 06516
(203) 932-2939
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May 2013.  I read with interest the letter from the parent who did not appreciate that her child received a free breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack provided by the West Haven Child Development Center.  Her very negative review should have been checked for accuracy as your website states. As a parent of two children who attended the Center, I find her comments hard to believe. If she was unhappy with the program why didn’t she find alternate care. In my opinion this program is top notch. The executive director holds a doctorate in child studies and promotes a very professional atmosphere. The teachers are all very well qualified. I would highly recommend this program to everyone. Too bad it has a waiting list of over 100 families vying for the infant/toddler spots. Elena, parent

schoolHaven responds: We work hard at kidHaven to make sure the reviews are thoughtful and constructive – if someone has a positive experience, that they explain why it is positive, or if it’s a negative experience, they explain why it’s negative.  As a group of parent volunteers, we are in no position to fact-check all of the reviews we receive, and moreover, we expect that parents’ experiences will differ – someone will have a great experience and someone will have a less-than-great experience.  Thanks so much for speaking up on behalf of this program, and please encourage others who have sent their children there to submit reviews as well. ~mira for sH

May 2011.  Beginning during my pregnancy, I worked very hard at finding a place that we felt we could afford on a pretty restricted budget. It was important to me that the place be accredited by NAEYC, which the WHCDC is. Also, upon visiting it, we felt that, while it wasn’t fancy and slick (like, say, Bright Horizons — WHCDC is housed in an old elementary school), the classrooms were decorated brightly, were comfortable and warm, and the teachers seemed engaged and caring. There is a full-time social worker and a part-time nurse practitioner (which is very unusual).

When our son was very young, we were quite happy with WHCDC, the teachers, and the children in his classroom. The teachers were accommodating when it came to giving our son the breast milk and, later, baby food that we provided. However, when our son got a bit older, we ran into some problems, First off, breakfast and lunch is provided by the Center and is cooked on the premises. While the offerings are, on paper, nutritious, the quality was low. I wanted to provide my own food for my son, but this was not allowed. Once he was old enough to eat “real” food, it had to be the food the Center offered.

The Center provides parents every day with a sheet indicating how their child’s day went. The sheet would include information about eating, diapering, and further information about how the day went. I began to find that on some days, in the area reserved for comments, the teacher would draw a sad face and that was all. Often, by the time I picked him up, the teacher would have left for the day, so there was no way of asking her what it was supposed to mean. Once, I asked another teacher if she knew what it meant. She told me my son had thrown a toy at a baby. (The earliest classroom is a combination infant/toddler room.)

I probably don’t have to go into the absurdity of this: As in, What does that mean? Did he purposely throw a toy AT the baby or did he throw a toy and it landed near the baby? (I think I would have heard if it had actually hit the baby.) Isn’t it pretty common for two-year-olds to throw toys? Does this really warrant an unhappy face on the sheet, etc.? In any case, communication wasn’t happening. In addition (to make a long story somewhat shorter), after my husband attended the parent-teacher conference and raised a few concerns, both regular classroom teachers stopped speaking to me. They didn’t do this to my husband. Only to me.

There were other issues, such as the director’s seven-year-old child having free reign of the place when she wasn’t in school… but I think my describing them in detail might make my narrative sound a bit absurd.

In any case, this is an option for those who are limited in funds (although I believe it may be limited to residents of West Haven) and in some ways does a good job. I also feel there are teachers at WHCDC who are wonderful and are genuinely concerned and caring. (One of them, in fact, is our regular babysitter and we all three love her.) I would advise that parents, however, proceed with caution.

A.L., parent

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