We’re turning 140 this year!
In honor of our anniversary, we’re taking a look back — and forward.
From daycare center to CAREing for young children and our entire community
In 1883, there were no daycare facilities in Worcester.
It was a hardship for parents and caregivers, including mothers in the maternity ward at Memorial Hospital (now UMass Memorial Medical Center) who also had young children at home. So, a group of faith-based organizations established a daycare center at 10 Edward Street. The Day Nursery, as we were originally called, cared for and educated young children for 120 years.
Then, in 2002, we evolved to meet the community’s needs once again, because:
- Parents and caregivers needed access to high quality, affordable childcare so they could work and build careers
- Businesses needed a stronger workforce that includes parents and caregivers
- Early educators and childcare providers needed support, training, and fair pay
- Young children needed developmentally appropriate learning and care that prepares them for academic and professional success
They still do. And we’re still here.
Today, we’re Edward Street, an organization that CAREs: we collaborate, advocate, respond, and educate on behalf of children, families, early educators and the entire community.
360 degrees of support for the whole child, the whole family, and the whole community
What do we do? A better question might be “what don’t we do?”
Edward Street builds partnerships that support early educators and childcare providers in the delivery of high quality learning and care; and families through parenting guidance, resources, and in-person and virtual events.
As advocates, we raise the voices of children, families and early educators to the ears of community leaders, business leaders, and local and state lawmakers. Why? Because a successful Greater Worcester starts in early childhood.
But our work doesn’t stop there.
Healthy child development needs community-wide support systems, so we partner to meet the behavioral, social-emotional, and physical health needs of children. We raise awareness of, increase access to, and develop new community resources for families.
When crisis strikes, we do what we do best: convene and collaborate
Our deep roots – in direct care and in our community – make us a valuable partner in times of crisis.
In 2021, when the pandemic brought immediate, unprecedented challenges for families, childcare providers and early educators, Edward Street convened and collaborated on their behalf.
We brought community partners together for daily and weekly meetings that yielded tangible solutions:
- Emergency childcare for first responders and essential workers
- Remote learning hubs at early education and care centers
- Clear COVID-19 prevention strategies and best practices for early educators and providers
- Trusted information for families
- Increased social-emotional support for young children negatively impacted by the social isolation and unpredictability of the pandemic
- Financial support for 85 family childcare providers so they could remain open and continue serving working families, in spite of inconsistent attendance
We did the same during infant formula shortages in 2022.
Together with our partners we raised awareness of available infant formula and helped acquire the delivery of new, free infant formula to Worcester.
What’s next? Whatever it takes for children and families
Edward Street is here to make sure all children have what they need to fulfill their unlimited potential and for our community to prosper. We always have been.
Today, our goals include:
- High quality, affordable, and accessible childcare for all families in Greater Worcester and Massachusetts
- Fair pay, professional status, and effective training for early educators and childcare providers so young children receive consistent education and care by experienced, qualified staff
- Comprehensive, accessible, community-wide resources in support of the physical, mental, and emotional health and development of children and families
How can we affect change? What organizations and people can we partner with to achieve our goals? As an organization with 140 years’ experience, we’ll continue leaning on our past to inform our future.
In Greater Worcester, early childhood success starts with Edward Street, and we’re not stopping until every child’s needs are met.