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Edward Street Delivers 140 Years of Memorable Learning Experiences

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Cheers to 140 years!

Edward Street is celebrating 140 years of helping young children and the caregivers who serve them in Central Massachusetts.

Today, we'd like to share some of the stories of Edward Street from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s — and how we continue to grow and evolve.

Edward Street Day Care Center Offered an Inclusive, Inviting, and Accepting Environment

In the 1970s, the Edward Street experience was one that made a difference to Kimberly Salmon.

Kimberly, the Associate Vice President of Community Relations at The Hanover Insurance Group, attended Edward Street Day Care Center (which later became Edward Street) from 1973 to 1975.

Little girl smiling

Kimberly Salmon attended Edward Street Day Care Center from 1973-1975.

At the time, Kimberly lived on Elizabeth Street in Worcester with her mother, a social worker, and her father, a teacher. She would walk to Edward Street every morning with her mother.

"I think it was my first positive experience. I attended a program that had children that looked like me. It was before I moved to the west side of Worcester when I felt isolated and alone," Kimberly said. 

During her time at Edward Street, the organization provided safe and affordable childcare and early learning resources, Kimberly pointed out. 

Ultimately, Edward Street was "a neighborhood asset that served a diverse group of families," Kimberly said.

Kids Enjoyed Free Movies, Swimming Lessons, and Other Fun Activities at Edward Street

Children taking picture

In the 1980s and 1990s, Kathy Dow and the staff at Edward Street went the extra mile to serve children. 

Kathy is currently the Co-Director of the Head Start program at the Worcester Community Action Council (WCAC), a nonprofit organization focused on "breaking the cycle of poverty one neighbor at a time."

Through Head Start, WCAC serves over 200 children between the ages of 3 and 5 years old and their families at centers in Southbridge, Worcester, East Brookfield, and Leicester.

Prior to joining WCAC, Kathy held "just about every position you could have" at Edward Street, she said. She joined Edward Street in fall 1986, starting out as an Assistant Teacher and earning new titles with increased responsibilities over her 12 years with the organization.

When Kathy first joined Edward Street, she had no idea she'd stay with the organization for 12 years, she pointed out.

The rules were very different then versus what they are now in terms of how caregivers can engage with kids, Kathy noted.

Some of her favorite activities with kids during her time at Edward Street included:

  • Bringing kids to the Worcester Public Library for Free Movie Fridays
  • Taking kids to swimming lessons at a hotel in Lincoln Square, which let her use the venue's swimming pool
  • Collecting pennies with kids to help them save the zoo on Green Hill Park

At Edward Street, Kids Were Allowed to Be Kids

Kathy and other Edward Street staff members enjoyed what they did — and they were willing to go above and beyond to serve kids and their families, she said.

During her time at Edward Street, Kathy noted there was no computer and very little technology in the classroom. Regardless, staff members consistently found ways to provide children with amazing learning experiences.

For example, Kathy pointed out the staff would play music by Ella Jenkins, aka "The First Lady of the Children's Folk Song," on a record player in the classroom. 

She also noted the staff would plan summer trips, helping kids make the most of their summertime vacation.

There was even a trip on the Santa Claus bus at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, so kids could enjoy a fun holiday experience.

Edward Street Consistently Delivers High-Level Care to All Families

Edward street newspaper article

Kathy and the staff at Edward Street prioritized high quality care and education for young children in Central Massachusetts, advocating for kids and families to ensure every child's needs were met.

Today, Edward Street remains committed to this mission. It also continues to address the challenges with affordability and access in childcare and early education and advocates for pay equity, policy changes, and affordability in these areas, Kimberly noted.

Moving forward, Edward Street looks poised to build on its success by collaborating with community partners and serving as an educational resource and training center for early educators in Worcester and its surrounding communities.

"Strong leadership, compassion, and care are qualities that stand out to me," Kimberly stated. "I think [Edward Street sustains] because they continue to pivot to assure that they are accessible for all. They demonstrated this during the pandemic and continue to advocate through inflation and our current economic challenges."

140 Years and Counting

Edward Street has positively impacted the lives of Kimberly, Kathy, and many others — and we continue to make a difference in the lives of children, families, and care providers in Central Mass today.

As part of our 140th celebration, we'd love to hear about your Edward Street experiences, too.

Feel free to send us a message if you'd like to share your Edward Street experience with us. 

And continue to check out our blog and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn to stay up to date on our 140th anniversary celebration and initiatives and programs.

Edward Street proudly supports high quality early learning and care. Donate today so children, families, and businesses can thrive, and follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.