In the spring of 1999, a privately owned child care company in Granby was being subsumed in a share-holders’ dispute. The loss of that center would mean the loss of child care for almost thirty Granby families and the loss of many jobs. Staff spent countless hours working to solve this problem. They asked parents and community members for help, formed a volunteer Board of Directors, and, by September, 1999, formed a new, non-profit [501(c)(3)] child care corporation: “Children First Enterprises, Inc.” named because we wanted our company to “put children first.” Donna Denette was two of the original co-creators.
We went through several organizational changes during the first two years, but finally settled on having an Executive Director to oversee the administration of the company in the spring of 2001. Since then we have grown and improved both our pre-school program and our school age programs In 2004 our pre-school became accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) [www.naeyc.org], an honor of which we were quite proud. We also converted the barn on the property into a summer-use-only “clubhouse” for the school-agers to attend summer camp (some of our school-age programs function for the academic year out of the West St. School cafeteria which we rent from the Granby Public Schools). As we grew and our reputation for providing excellent care and curriculum by a caring, educated, consistent staff grew with us, we OUTGREW our space. In 2006 we made a commitment to expand our facility. We were accepted into Building Stronger Centers, a program offered by the Children’s Investment Fund to help non-profit childcare companies expand and/or improve their services. We purchased 3.5 acres of land and the buildings that we had previously rented. We worked with an architect who specialized in the design of child care facilities as well as a local landscape architect. The result is our magical and wonderful Children First Center!
Our history is based on goal-setting, and each year we are committed to improving. Our Grand Opening for our expansion was over six years ago, and we are already working with an architect for expansion II. With this new expansion, we will dedicate one side of our building (the West Wing) to our School Agers. This amazing space will be designed around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). We will also be opening a 3rd preschool classroom, as we have already outgrown our waitlist with only two. And lastely, we are opening a room for younger 2 year olds (Toddlers).