Winter Park Day Nursery provides a secure, nurturing, educational environment that is affordable and supports family diversity.
The Winter Park Day Nursery will build a stronger community by providing high-quality, affordable early childhood education that will prepare our children to succeed in school and life.
Winter Park Day
Nursery has made a difference in the lives of more than 12,000
children during our 77 years of existence. We are especially proud of what
we have accomplished this past year:
We have worked diligently
to maintain our accreditation through the National Accreditation Commission
(NAC) receiving our 3-year re-accreditation approval in October of 2015. This
accomplishment, in and of itself validates the high quality of our educational
We received an award
in 2013 making us one of five programs in the state to become a program-wide
Positive Behavior Support (PBS) demonstration site. The PBS model
provides early educators with the knowledge and tools needed to promote the
social-emotional competence of all children, prevent the development of
behavior challenges, and ensure that young children with behavior problems
receive effective intervention. The training and support of this program was
made possible by our collaborations with the Department of Child and Family
Studies at the University of South Florida and Rollins College Child
highlight our quality, allowing for our enrollment to average 94% of accredited
capacity throughout 2015, including the summer months when enrollment is historically
lower. Accredited capacity refers to the
fact that Childcare licensing authorizes a capacity of 95 students for our
building, we choose to limit our capacity to 69 students to meet accreditation
standards for the number of children served per teacher. In addition to staying at capacity, this, in
turn has brought our waitlist to reach 100 students in January 2016 (in January
2015 this number was at 60).
The number of families who choose our
school and receive no scholarship or financial assistance peaked at the end of
2015 to 21.3% - this number previously fluctuated around 7 – 8%. This brought into reality the decision the
board of directors made in 2013 to assure that this number did not exceed 25%. This decision was made to assure that the
Winter Park Day Nursery continues to serve its mission by serving families of
all income levels, to assure that we are supporting those families most in
need. We are adjusting our
enrollment/waitlist process to assure we keep this limit in effect.
In 2016 our board of directors is
gearing up to update our strategic plan so that we may address the increased
needs in our community as they are related to our organizations current service
ability and possibility for growth.
ASSISTANCE – Funding is needed occasionally
to fully subsidize the tuition fees of our families for a specified period of
time when one or both parents lose their jobs or have a crisis such as an
accident or major illness. With this assistance, the children in these families,
despite trouble at home, continue to benefit from our nurturing learning
environment and nutritious meal program. (Goal – $9,360 to fully subsidize 52
weeks, or one full year, of care).
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS - We work to maintain a maintenance fund to use in the event
an unexpected maintenance or repair arises. (We like to keep approximately $5,000
in this fund)
DIRECT PERSONAL ASSISTANCE TO FAMILIES – WPDN strives to encompass and support the whole family so
they can overcome whatever personal, financial or health hurdles they may have
that also affect their children. There is always need for funds we can
utilize to provide for direct personal assistance for our families, including
emergency rent, utilities, transportation assistance and other basic needs.
(Goal - $7,500)
CAPACITY BUILDING – Funding to continue to enhance, develop and grow WPDN’s core
preschool educational program. These include leadership and staff training,
education and increased pay for teachers and support staff, technology
upgrades, educational and curriculum tools, and a more comprehensive parenting
education program to help our parents build stronger and more stable families.
($5,000 to $50,000)
FUND-RAISING UNDERWRITING - To secure as much underwriting as possible for the agency’s
signature fund-raising event, the Orange Blossom Jubilee (OBJ), is held every
spring. The proceeds from this event help underwrite tuition costs for our
lower-income families. Underwriting is needed to cover facility rental,
entertainment, food, linen rental, invitations, mailings; our fund-raising goal
for the OBJ is $80,000.
SCHOLARSHIP ASSISTANCE – Funding to bridge the gap between what families can afford to
pay and what it costs to care for and educate their children. At least 75% of our families receive some
sort of scholarship assistance with 62.7% of families falling below 130% of the
Federal Poverty Line. These families
receive between 50 and 60% of their child(ren)’s tuition in scholarships. ($10,000/month)
From its beginning in 1939, Winter Park Day Nursery's mission has been to fill a serious need for high-quality, affordable childcare for low-income working parents in the Orlando/Winter Park Area. The center was founded when a local elementary school principal, Nelson Glass, noticed that when the Gentille Packing Plant went into production, student absenteeism soared. He realized that the mothers were working in the plant, leaving their preschool children at home under the care of their only slightly older siblings. Out of the need for a childcare center for children of these working mothers, the Winter Park Day Nursery was born. Today, Winter Park Day Nursery (WPDN) is an independent, not-for-profit childcare center dedicated to serving as a sanctuary for young, at-risk preschool children of working families from the Orlando/Winter Park area. WPDN provides an ethnically and racially diverse mix of children, aged two to five years, with the high-quality preschool education they need to enter kindergarten at the same level as children from more affluent families. To assure affordability, WPDN structures its significant scholarships on a sliding scale based on parents' verified income and household size.
As an Executive Director who has served in many program positions during my time with WPDN, I have been able to see on a daily basis the impact that quality early childhood education and care makes on children, especially children from a low economic environment (poverty level). Winter Park Day Nursery is sometimes the only stability in their volatile young lives. There is compelling evidence that at-risk children who attend high-quality preschools dramatically increase their chances for school readiness and future success. Unfortunately, low- and even moderate-income families face difficulties finding high-quality, affordable preschool education unless the fees are subsidized. At Winter Park Day Nursery, significant scholarships ranging from 20 – 60% of the full tuition cost are offered on a sliding scale based on the family's placement on the federal poverty level chart. When parents receive assistance with child care costs, they are 40% more likely to keep their jobs for two years or more. Because we provide a significant amount of scholarships on a sliding scale based on household income, WPDN parents therefore are more likely to have stable employment and a positive impact to the community as are their children.
This is the 77th year for the Winter Park Day Nursery. This in itself is a success to be proud of. The success of the Winter Park Day Nursery is driven by the investment of our donors and the hard work, knowledge and compassion of the teachers and the Board. I think every Board member has a personal reason for becoming involved with the Nursery and my story is no different. I was originally introduced to the needs of the Nursery back in 2001 when my wife was hired as a teacher at the Winter Park Day Nursery. I heard countless stories of children and families who have thrived due to the education and support they received at WPDN. As I saw changes and growth, I knew I had ideas, experiences and skills that could contribute to making a good school into a great school and a much needed resource for families. I joined the board in 2011 and was voted in as president in 2013, shortly after my wife retired from her teaching position. As board chair I am one of the Day Nursery’s biggest advocates as I share the tremendous work of the school with everyone I meet. One of my favorite parts of each year is to attend the annual VPK graduation ceremony where we can actually see the children’s faces light up as they receive their awards and diplomas. These children know that they have completed something important, and they have done well! What an amazing experience to witness.
As our waitlist increases exponentially, we are at a crossroads to find a balance that will allow us to maintain our excellence and increase our capacity to better meet the growing need in our community for affordable, high-quality, early childhood care and education for all families. As a Board we see the economic challenges of trying to raise enough awareness and money from donations to finance the annual budget. Operating costs are not going down, they are continually increasing. As standards for quality care increase, so does the cost to provide such care. It costs more to maintain the highly educated, quality staff that have proven to make the difference in the lives of the families we serve. Even as our costs increase, we find we cannot transfer that cost back onto our families who struggle to pay even reduced, subsidized costs of care; therefore we must search elsewhere to assure we have the ability to maintain our identity as a high-quality program for all.
We/The Board run a very financially prudent and sound operation and the children and their families depend on us!
In today’s environment there are many challenges that the Nursery faces. There are so many families who are working hard to get back on their feet or to get ahead so that they might give their children more than they were given. As a Board we see the economic challenges trying to raise enough awareness and money from donations to finance the annual budget. Operating costs are not going down, they are increasing. Electricity costs have gone up, food costs have gone up, insurance costs have gone up, etc. In order to maintain our high-quality we are also striving to increase the level of education, thus increase the pay of our teaching staff and all employees to assure an environment where the children know the adults around them are there because they care, and can focus on the needs of the children. We/The Board run a very financially prudent and sound operation and the children and their families depend on us!
Winter Park Day Nursery serves children who live in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, most of whose parents work in Winter Park. We are located in Winter Park, a predominantly affluent area, but we also serve children who live in the low income area of Winter Park as well as low-income neighborhoods throughout the tri-county Orlando area.
Winter Park Day Nursery (WPDN) offers a high-quality childcare and preschool program for working families taught by teachers trained in ‘best practices’ for early education and child development so they can help all WPDN children leave us ready to succeed in kindergarten. WPDN focuses its efforts on young children from lower- and middle- income working families.
When parents have access to high-quality, affordable, full-day, reliable child care such as the Winter Park Day Nursery’s, they are more productive in the workplace and devote less time to personal issues, knowing their children are safe. Employers benefit from reduced turnover and absenteeism. This is an indirect, but important, impact of WPDN’s program.
WPDN’s curriculum, which follows the Florida standards for school readiness, is a combination of High/Scope and Creative Curriculum. These curriculums emphasize teaching children how to think, how to problem-solve, and how to work together. The children actively engage in planning, carrying out and reviewing what they are learning. Such high-quality education gives the children the intellectual tools to do better in school; they learn to be critical thinkers. WPDN maintains a reputable accreditation by the National Accreditation Commission (NAC) through the association of Early Learning Leaders to assure we are exceeding guidelines for quality care and early education.
Internal assessments and screenings are conducted each year:
· Teaching Strategies GOLD observational assessment - Each child is observed throughout the year and these observations input into a program website that allows us to track growth in several developmental areas including Social-Emotional, Physical, Language, Cognitive, Literacy, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies, The Arts and English Language Acquisition (if necessary). This tool is now required by all programs offering Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) as well as all students who receive state school readiness funding however, WPDN began utilizing this program a year prior to its being required by the state funded programs.
· Pre and post-VPK Assessment – all pre-k students are tracked on their improvement in literacy and Math skills.
· Screenings - Each student, upon enrollment and every six months I screened on the Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQ), the most trusted developmental screening tool used at this time, as well as the DECA (Devereux Early Childhood Assessment) which supports early intervention efforts to reduce emotional and behavior concerns by assessing risks and resiliency in the social development of very young children.
A 40-year longitudinal study has shown that children who attend a high-quality childcare using the High/Scope curriculum will on average earn more, be more likely to own their home, be less likely to have mental health issues, less likely to have ever been arrested or on welfare and have higher education levels than children from similar socio-economic situations who attended other preschool models or no preschool. This, paired with the Creative Curriculum we are able to incorporate the latest research and best practices while addressing the needs of every type of learner. Therefore, we expect that children who attend WPDN will also do well in their long term future. Tracking for this is difficult however, in addition to using general drop-out rates for the area we are currently tracking a sample group of our past students through the 2nd grade to show the benefits our program has on our students as well as learn how we can improve our program to help our students be successful in school and in life.
From a current parent with 2 children: "I just wanted to acknowledge the hard work and effort you guys put forth to make things great for our children as well as the parents. As a single father I’m often cast aside or treated initially as a secondary parent when beginning a new relationship with my children’s doctors, teachers etc. I’ve already experienced the difference now that my daughter has started her new kindergarten. I truly miss the quaintness and family atmosphere you have created there at WPDN. Everyone knew our names, was always friendly and ready to be helpful. I can’t thank you guys enough for the way myself and children were treated as well as how you were able to prepare us for the next stages in their schooling. It’s great to see there’s still people out there that recognize the value of the “little” things. Keep up the great work!” - 2015
Winter Park Day Nursery has an inclusive family services program
led by our Director of Family Services who has a bachelor’s degree in Social Work
as well as Child Development Certifications and experience teaching children
from birth through five years old. Thanks to these skills and experience our
Family Services program offers screenings and early intervention support for
all students demonstrating a need for such support. The Director of Family
Services also offers outside resources (that can be brought to WPDN as often as
possible) to assure that our students have the best possible chance of success.
As part of our Family Services program, WPDN regularly offers parent education classes. Parenting classes teach parents about many different areas of interest, including best financial practices, community resources and positive discipline, among others. These classes not only teach parents how to help their child be successful, but how to help themselves be more successful, productive citizens as an example to their children. In addition to teaching skills or providing information, these classes also offer a support network for parents to share with other parents some of their struggles and triumphs. Providing a sense of community provides otherwise isolated, hard-working parents with a network of support.
“It’s great to be connected to a place that not only cares about my son but, our family and community as a whole. I’m so happy I found you all!” – Current Parent, 2015
Families, schools and communities are partners in the rearing and education of children. The quality of life in Central Florida over the long-term relies on our ability to engage residents to participate in resolving our issues, with one of the most significant being education of our children. The most powerful single intervention we can make on behalf of children is to ensure that they start school ready to learn. The Winter Park Day Nursery has evolved over the past 15 years from a child care center to an accredited preschool and support network for at-risk children of low-income families. Research has proven that the first years of life are important for a child’s emotional and intellectual development. An investment in our children at an early age is more effective and efficient than remedial programs later. The Winter Park Day Nursery provides nurturing care for our children and the strong foundation they need to succeed in school and in life. Our community’s economic and social well-being requires that now, more than ever, all children be prepared for school, prepared for post-secondary education and prepared for the workforce and adult responsibilities. That preparation starts now, while the children are small and eager to learn and grow.
Over the past two years, Winter Park Day Nursery has maintained a waiting list of more than 100 students for our school, which holds only 69 students at any given time. Our Board of Directors and administrative team have begun discussions on how to better meet the growing need for the services provided to families by the day nursery. With the help of grant funding from the Central Florida Foundation, our board and staff will be working with Kate Martin from the Edyth Bush Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Rollins College to explore the school’s options for growth and create a Business Plan that will be a component of a new Strategic Plan for 2017 – 2020 and beyond.
Director of Family Services
Megan has worked with children for ten years since she was a senior in high school. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in social work and she also has her CDA. When Megan is not at school, she enjoys spending time with her family and her pets, reading, and dancing.
In today’s environment the nursery faces many challenges. There are many families that simply cannot afford to send their children to school as the parents have lost their jobs or had their hours or wages reduced. As a Board we see the economic challenges trying to raise enough awareness and revenue from donations to finance the annual budget. Operating costs, such as electricity, food and insurance, are all increasing. When you combine that with government agencies, endowments, foundations and individuals all cutting back on or eliminating their disbursements this is a very troubling time for us. The fear of what may still be ahead of us economically has made it that much more difficult to increase donations enough to keep pace with costs. We are demonstrating to our current and prospective donors and sponsors that we can be prudent with their funding. We have also re-evaluated our budget to see where we can save. Through our involvement with Rollins College Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center along with funding from the Winter Park Community Foundation, our board has worked to increase our knowledge and capacity to do the most with what we have and gained the skills to better prepare for the future.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Like so many other non-profits, WPDN struggles to increase financial support each year in order to sustain the work while allowing for continual increases in quality and service. We demonstrate to our current and prospective donors and sponsors that we can be prudent with the money they give us. We continually re-evaluate our budget to see where we can save without any sacrifice to quality.
Central Florida Foundation 800 N Magnolia AvenueSuite 1200 Orlando, FL 32803 p. 407.872.3050 f. 407.425.2990