About Burlington Children's Space
Founded in 1984, Burlington Children's Space is a NAEYC-accredited program offering early care and education for children from 6 weeks to 5 years old. Programming is based on influences from Reggio Emilia, Italy, the interests and curiosities of the children, and the unique culture and resources of our local Vermont community.
Burlington Children’s Space is a private, nonprofit early education and childcare center governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. We are dedicated to serving all populations, with both children and teachers from a variety of diverse backgrounds, and our tuition is based on a sliding scale. As an agency committed to meeting the needs of children, families and community, BCS has worked hard to support the increase of high quality child care slots in the Burlington area. We strive to educate members of our community about early education issues, the need for high quality child care, and the impact child care has in the community. We provide care from 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday, all year round!
Who We Are
At Burlington Children’s Space, we believe that young children thrive when their learning is cultivated within a stimulating and nurturing environment that takes into consideration the “whole” child.
The Burlington Children’s Space embraces, enriches, empowers and educates young children and families in our community.
We will be a nurturing, educational haven for children and an indispensable early education and child care resource to families and our community.
We value diversity, community, and high-quality early childhood education. We strive to enhance children's experiences and opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.
Curriculum at BCS is developed through a process of negotiation between teacher and child: teachers observe and document the interests of the children, and provide opportunities for them to question, explore and create in ways that encourage development in a number of areas. Play-based learning is prioritized, allowing for an emergent, child-led curriculum that changes based on children's developmental needs, personal interests, and the strengths and passions of the teaching team.
Tuition & Funding
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 education 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.
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.
BCS Core Beliefs
Family, culture, socioeconomic background and developmental stage are all integral parts of each child and should be welcomed as integrated parts of a rich environment. We strive to create a sense of community for our children within the Center and help them feel a part of the larger community they live in as well.
Children are competent learners. We respect and value their curiosity, their social nature, their purposeful inquiries and their incredible perseverance. We believe that children will demonstrate their own complex and meaningful agendas for learning as they all possess a natural desire to challenge themselves and embrace new experiences. We have as much to learn from young children as they have to learn from us.
We believe in positive language, active problem solving, appropriate limits, and positive consequences for desired behavior, and we strive to model these ideas within empathetic and caring classrooms.
We believe in the power of love and acceptance.