Friends, owners, educators and children were all smiles this morning as they bundled up on this unusually cold — albeit bright — May day for a ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening at the AppleCore Learning Early Childhood Center on the campus of St. Joseph’s Church in Maplewood.
Although Nadege Duvernay owns the center separately from the parish, she calls Fr. Jim Worth and St. Joseph her “partners” in the endeavor. Worth was on hand to aid in the ribbon cutting, along with Mayor Vic DeLuca and center director Baaqia Uqdah-Grey who has more than 35 years in the early childhood education profession.
Through the partnership, Duvernay hopes to attract parents who want quality child care for children ages 2-1/2 years through kindergarten at a price they can afford ($180/week).
Families do NOT need to be members of the parish for their children to attend the center.
The center, along with the Milton School above, also helps to fill the space of the former St. Joseph School, keeping the area and the nearby business district at Springfield Avenue and Prospect Street busy and activated. A dedicated parking lot on Franklin Avenue makes drop-off and pick-up easy.
Duvernay and Uqdah-Grey have chosen “the creative curriculum” where “teachers get to imagine with students” and “students take control of the learning.” Duvernay said this option allows children to “play creatively and learn” while teachers collaborate and provide structure.
Duvernay, a Hillside native, is fluent in English, French and Creole and says that the program will be a comfortable fit for students who speak any of these languages as well as Spanish.
Despite her 35 years of experience, day care director Uqdah-Grey is currently pursuing an MA in Early Childhood Education at New Jersey City University. She has worked as a teacher, trainer, consultant, mentor, coach and administrator and is the author of “Ibby’s Feelings” a children’s book addressing the sensitive issue of domestic violence as seen through the eyes of a child.
The program can accommodate up to 90 day care students and plans to offer a summer camp program for children ages 6-13 (stay tuned!).
Apple Core Day Care, 240 Franklin Avenue, Maplewood, NJ.
Hours: Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
To apply, call 973-763-1700 or 908-297-8124 or stop by the parish office between 9 a.m. -12 p.m. Monday-Thursday for an enrollment packet.
Call 973-763-1700 or 908-297-8124 to schedule a tour. www.
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