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Friends Center for Children, New Haven

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225 East Grand Avenue, New Haven, CT 06513
(203) 468-1966
ages 3 mos-5 years

February 2014 We learned about Friends Center for Children (FCfC) through new friends in our neighborhood.  The proximity of FCfC made it very attractive so we took a tour.  We were impressed by the sense of community, confidence of the children and positive teacher attitudes.  The waiting list was quite long but FCfC has recently expanded and is now accepting applications for another preschool classroom.  Normally children are only accepted at the beginning of the school year.  This allows for continuity in the classroom that I have realized is so important for children.  Our daughter was able to start at age two and has been there ever since.  We experienced the transition from the original small school of 18 children to the new, beautiful, large school that currently has ~24 infant/toddlers and 21 preschoolers.  I was impressed by how easily the teachers enabled the children to say goodbye to their old classroom and explore their new classroom.  The children were excited and curious.
FCfC is a co-op school, requiring each family to volunteer 1.5 hr/adult/week.  There are a variety of tasks that can be done to fill the co-op time (shopping, laundry, library trips, classroom aid, sewing, etc.).  I consider the co-op aspect both a Pro and a Con.  Obviously working parents struggle to make time to complete their co-op task.  My husband’s co-op task is to spend 1 hour a week in the classroom plus various other carpentry tasks as they arise. I was pleasantly surprised to hear him say that all parents should be required to spend time in the classroom because of how rewarding it is to both children and parents.  Having our daughter attend FCfC has been rewarding in other ways too, including its close-knit community, progressive education program and investment in the total well-being of the children.  FCfC attends to the children’s education, physical and emotional health in parent-involved ways resulting in well-rounded, happy children.  I give FCfC the highest recommendation.  A.S., parent

October 2013 UPDATE from the Friends Center.  The new center has opened with room for 70+ children.  The new building has an environmentally friendly focus with floor to ceiling windows, a rooftop garden and a rainwater harvesting system.

March 2013.  I don’t have a child, but I know a little girl who was there for a few years. She loved it and thrived there. I got to see the school first hand by picking her up a few times. I was asked to go to the school with Mom to meet everyone the day before. It was a very loving and home feeling environment. In comparison to the children her age in the fair haven neighborhood there was a big difference. She had gained knowledge of how to treat people, how to be safe and knowledge of nature. In comparison the other kids staying home all day had less patience, didn’t have people skills and zero respect for nature. So, if I ever did have kids, this is where I would take them :)  Linda, friend

March 2013.  We initially chose FCfC after a recommendation from our pediatrician.  We called and I instantly knew after speaking with the Head Teacher this was a great environment for children.  The following week, we brought our then 1 year old daughter in for a visit.  She sat with a small group of children and had a snack.  I did not think it could be like this all the time!  But after a week of transition, where I attended school with her, I realized it was like this all the time.  She is now 5 and has been there ever since.  The program, which is based on the Quaker values is not simply Quaker for us, it is how we and most people we know live their lives.  Our daughter has thrived in this environment and is well prepared to enter kindergarten with a sense of community and a great respect for all people and things.  My son also attends Friends.  He started when he was 3 months old and is now 18 months.  He has also thrived in the environment.  At his very young age, he has genuine excitement for school.  In fact, he never really looks back once he enters the school space.

I cannot list any cons, although the only con used to be it was not big enough and there were no spaces available to perspective parents.  However, that is now changing with the new building that is currently under construction.  This new space will provide many additional families the wonderful opportunity my children have had in school.  FCfC is an amazing learning community where kids can grow, love and learn together.  I feel we have been so fortunate to be a part of this community. Amy M., parent

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