Wee Care’s Visit to the ELC Marks 20th Year of Friendship

Thursday, November 9, 2017



Twenty years ago, a student named Kelly Tonks attended the Gateway Community College Early Childhood (ELC) Education program and worked at the Wee Care Center of North Branford. At the time, 1997, Wee Care had one African American child. One day, the child asked Tonks why there weren’t any children who looked like her in her class. Tonks decided to work on a solution. She knew the ELC was a lab school connected to the GCC Early Child Education Program. Its mission was to serve students getting degrees in Early Child Education, and it had a diverse student population.

Tonks asked Marion Williams, teacher of the Diversified Creative Curriculum (DCC) Classroom at the Lab School, if she would be interested in allowing her class to visit. In exchange, they would visit her class at Wee Care. Williams thought this was a great opportunity to showcase diversity and acceptance, thus their friendship was formed.

Fast forward to October 2017. Wee Care’s recent visit to the ELC marked the 20th year of extending hands in friendship through biannual visits. Twenty-seven preschool children from Wee Care and the DCC classroom shared meals, sang songs and created a craft together.

“This event is one of many that our children and teachers participate in that illustrate the deep-rooted culture and traditions of diversity and inclusion at the ELC,” shares ELC's current Director Sarah Chambers.

The EARLY LEARNING CENTER is a fully-licensed, nationally-accredited lab school for young children. It is a full-day pre-school that serves children ages 3 to 5 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuition includes breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack, a choice of three instructional models, enrichment programs and parent resources. For more information visit www.gatewayct.edu/Student-Life/Early-Learning-Center.