Child Development Center
Caring for Children
Construction has begun on a full-day child development center to increase access to high quality early care and education for families at all income levels. We will provide financial aid for 25% of students and scholarships equal to 25% of tuition on average.
It has been well documented that a child’s earliest years have a profound impact on their school success, their career success, and their lives. Education serves as an equalizer with the potential to nullify the deficits many children face due to socio-economic circumstances.
Unfortunately, in our community, access to high quality early childhood care is limited by cost and available spaces.
So, given these facts, we identified opening a new high-quality CDC, which offers seats across income levels, as a way for Covenant to be a part of the economic mobility solution in our community.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What prompted Covenant to consider building a Child Development Center (CDC) on our campus?
Our decision to pursue both the Child Development Center and the Affordable Housing Project are part of our churches response to the community challenges outlined by Opportunity Task Force report and our desire to find a way to become a part of the economic mobility solution in our community.
Q: Covenant already has a preschool. What is the difference between a preschool and a CDC, and why does Covenant need both?
Covenant’s Preschool is a half-day program which runs on a school year calendar (i.e. closed in the summer); it serves 114 children ages 1 to 5 years old. Preschool programs typically serve families who have at least one parent at home part or full time.
Covenant’s CDC will be a full day program which will be open year-round; it will be licensed to serve 88-90 children ages 8 weeks to 5 years old. CDC programs serve families with parents who work full time.
Q: Describe the decision process that led Covenant to decide to move forward with building a new CDC.
The research, discernment and recommendation process began in 2015 and involved our Session, Covenant’s Planning and Evaluation Board, and a Child Development Center task force.
In our discernment process, our task force consulted a variety of experts and resources, including the NC Division of Child Development and Early Education, Child Care Resources, and representatives from several area CDC programs, including highly detailed discussions with MPPC and FPC. We researched every question that we could think of or that Session members or P&E members raised. We considered market demand, space requirements, programming, regulations, management, and economics, and in the end, we determined that opening an economically diverse CDC on our campus is an excellent way for Covenant to become a part of the economic mobility solution in our community.
Q: What will CDC programming look like?
Our CDC will offer curriculum and teacher-to-child ratios in line with or better than the NC 5-star requirements. Daily nutrition may be prepared and served on-site, though we are exploring the possibility of food being served through Friendship Trays or other providers. Enrichment will be offered, including weekly or monthly Chapel service (which will be an opportunity for the CDC and Preschool to come together), Imaginon Story time, music, and art. Though the total curriculum is not yet determined, it will reflect our faith-based community.
Q: Will transportation to the CDC be offered?
Currently, we do not anticipate offering transportation; however, there are many details related to opening the CDC that will be evaluated further as we move forward. We are exploring transportation possibilities for our scholarship students.
Q: Where will the CDC be located?
The Covenant CDC will be located on the bottom floor of our new hospitality center, and it will share renovated playground space with the preschool.
Q: How do we plan to achieve diversity within our CDC?
First, our CDC will be a qualified provider of subsidized care, which is administered in Charlotte by Child Care Resources.
Second, because subsidy payments typically cover only 75-80% of the market cost of high quality full day care, and because there are many families who don’t qualify for subsidies but who can’t afford the cost of high quality care, Covenant will offer financial assistance through a scholarship program that will ensure that at least 25% of the CDC’s children – or about 21 children – are children who would not have otherwise been able to afford to attend our CDC.
We hope to offer CDC scholarships to children whose families live in the affordable housing project we are partnering to build, creating further connection and support between Covenant and our neighbors who need a helping hand.
Q: Why did we decide to offer scholarships to 25% of the children?
A number of studies show that an impactful socio-economically diverse classroom should have at least 20% of the children with different income levels, social backgrounds, and in some cases, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Benefits of socio-economically diverse classrooms include, but are not limited to, enhancing ‘soft skills” like compassion, kindness, and seeing things from another’s perspective.
Our plan is to fill 25% of the seats with children on scholarships to make the program as impactful as is economically feasible. Further, this leaves a solid number of seats open for Covenant families.
Q: Why did we decide that the average CDC scholarship amount will be 25% of the tuition?
Government subsidy payments currently cover only 75-80% of the monthly cost of high quality full day care, and our scholarships will be there to help these families cover this gap.
Further, a 25% scholarship can have a meaningful impact for a family that does not qualify for a government subsidy, but cannot afford to send their child to our neighborhood CDC without financial support.
We estimate that a 25% scholarship will support a child’s tuition by $285 per month or $3,414 for the year.
Q: How will Covenant fund the CDC Scholarship Program?
We plan to solidify the economic diversity mission of our CDC by establishing a CDC Scholarship Endowment. This endowment will provide the bedrock of funding for the scholarship program, ensuring that there is CDC scholarship funding available from the start and in perpetuity. Covenant’s goal is for the CDC to have adequate scholarship funds to effectively “reserve” 25% of the seats for scholarship children when the CDC opens and each year thereafter.
This endowment will be seeded with a $1 million capital injection from the capital campaign. Importantly, establishing this endowment sets a clear precedent and discipline now and for future generations as to the importance of offering meaningful CDC scholarships to a significant number of children who would not otherwise be able to attend our CDC.
Q: Why is the scholarship level limited to 21 children?
We want to help as many children as possible. As we planned for our CDC scholarships, we had to face the economic realities of the high cost of full day year-round care. The current plan is as aggressive as we felt we could afford to be.
Helping 21 children is significant. In addition to offering scholarships, we hope that Covenant members will wrap their arms around these children and their families, supporting them with more than just tuition scholarship funds. Our plan is for Covenant to find ways to support these children and their families, making them feel welcome and a part of our community.
From an economic standpoint, it’s important to realize that Covenant will offer scholarships to about 21 children every year, for many years into the future. The establishment of the CDC scholarship endowment clearly signals Covenant’s long-term commitment to these scholarships. Over the years these scholarships will impact the lives of hundreds of children and their families.
It’s also worth noting that the Covenant’s scholarship total will increase by about 2% each year as tuition rates grow, so Covenant’s ongoing financial commitment will increase over time.
We also hope that over time, future gifts towards the CDC scholarship fund will allow Covenant to offer more or larger CDC scholarships.
Q: How will we determine which children are enrolled in the CDC, in general, as well as which children will receive scholarships?
We envision that the CDC will be governed by a board of directors that will oversee and advise the CDC and serve as a liaison between the church and the school.
The CDC board will approve a to-be-developed CDC Operating Manual, which will include curriculum, health & safety procedures, and admission/wait list priorities, among other policies and processes.
Also included among the board’s oversight duties will be ensuring that the CDC lives into its mission of being an economically diverse learning environment. Related to this, the board will include a scholarship sub-committee which will establish scholarship criteria and make scholarship recommendations to the board.
Q: How will the CDC maintain the desired diversity?
We have an implementation team that is working on many issues such as this. Soon we will hire a Child Care Development consultant who will help us through some of these questions.
Q: Will the CDC cause traffic and parking issues on campus?
CDC hours will be finalized in the implementation process but are anticipated to be 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., with most parents typically dropping children off and picking children up around these times. Parents of children in the CDC will not all arrive on campus at the same time like they do with our preschool so the additional parking and traffic flow should not have significant impact. The preschool’s hours are 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., so there will be very little overlap. How joyful it will be for our campus to be busy with children and their parents!
Q: Who is the architect and how can we see renderings for the center?
WGM Architects designed the new building. Their firm has worked on projects with a variety of churches including Myers Park Presbyterian, Myers Park Methodist, St. Peters Episcopal and Dilworth Methodist.
Q: What is the timeline for the CDC?
Construction on the Hospitality Center/CDC building is planned for late 2018 through 2019. The Implementation Team has put together a timeline that projects hiring a director in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of 2019 and opening the center in early 2020.
Q: What is the process for choosing a contractor for this project?
The Implementation Team has the responsibility of identifying our construction partners and other resources. They have researched five-star day care centers such as First Methodist and Davidson/Cornelius Child Development Center to help inform their due diligence.
Q: Is the plan for the CDC to be self-sustainable or will Covenant operating budget be needed to cover some of the costs?
There is a projected budget at this point that will need further review. The goal is for the CDC to break even on operation costs.
Q: What kind of security requirements will be needed in order to be accredited?
The Child Development consultant will guide us through these issues.
Q: Will there be any preference given to Covenant members for spots in the CDC?
This is yet to be determined, but the Implementation Team is aware of the consideration.
Check Back Soon For Updates to This Page