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Founded 1984 | Helping young children thrive by cultivating a stimulating and nurturing environment that takes into consideration the "whole" child

About Us

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The Burlington Children’s Space is a private, nonprofit early education and childcare center governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. BCS originated in the 1980s with a citizens’ group that was concerned about childcare opportunities in the Burlington community after the closure of the Ethan Allen Child Care Center left many families scrambling for care. Childcare options were limited, especially for families of moderate to low-income levels.


In the early 1980s, we received a grant from Burlington’s Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Mayor’s Youth Office. This grant covered the construction costs of converting part of the basement of Memorial Auditorium into a childcare facility. Architect Rolf Kielman designed the unique “village” setting, and construction was completed in June of 1984. BCS opened that same month with just 15 children and their families.


As our programs grew in the early 1990s, our Board of Directors began exploring the possibility of owning our own space. The Champlain Senior Center was meanwhile experiencing similar growth, so we decided to join together and create the McClure Multi-Generational Center in Burlington’s quirky and historic Old North End. Since then, the Burlington Children’s Space has bought the McClure building from its original owners, and the Champlain Senior Center has moved elsewhere, allowing Outright Vermont to move in. Moving forward, BCS and OVT will work as partners to steward the McClure Multi-Generational Center, and live up to its mission as an essential hub for citizens of many ages.

Our History

BCS has worked closely with Burlington’s Child Development Division to ensure access to care for children who are eligible for a child care subsidy. Over the years, this has included an agreement to hold spots for low-income families as well as a number of grants to enhance quality.

In the fall of 2002, BCS joined forces with the (then) brand-new public school / private early education center initiative, Early Learning Partnership; this partnership eventually became ACT 166 Universal Pre-K. This collaboration supports the educational goals of all our children by reducing parent tuition costs and enhancing the relationship with public school partners. Act 166 funding allows BCS to discount preschool tuition while maintaining licensed teachers and high-quality programming. It also ensures BCS staff can work closely with school district staff when special education services are needed and ensures a smooth transition from preschool to kindergarten.


BCS also provides enrichment opportunities through the teaming efforts of the Vermont Arts Council, Shelburne Farms, ECHO Museum, the Fletcher Free Library, Audubon Vermont, Burlington Community Gardens, and the Intervale Center.


The Burlington Children’s Space remains committed to providing affordable, high- quality early education and child care to all families, regardless of income. Parent tuition accounts for just 27 percent of BCS income; the remaining 73 percent must come from outside sources. Grants, contracts and foundations are a major focus of our fundraising efforts. We have received financial support from the City of Burlington, the Department of Education, United Way, Community Development Block Grant, the Turrell Fund, the Edwards Foundation, the Agnes Lindsay Foundation, The Vermont Children’s Trust Fund, the Kelsey Foundation, the Henderson Foundation, the Hoehl Family Foundation, Amy Tarrant, Richard Tarrant, the “Friends of BCS” campaign and many individual donors.

Tuition & Funding

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