In response to Dr. Walter Gilliam’s research on the disproportionate expulsion of black and brown boys, Georgia Goldburn of Hope For New Haven and Kim Harris of Harris & Tucker School set out to ensure early childhood programs are welcoming places for children of color. Given that ECE programs were highly segregated in CT, they knew that helping programs serving children of color would be the best place to start.
A survey of over 2000 providers in the state revealed that they needed more qualified early childhood educators who shared similar values and culture with the children they serve. Dr. Gilliam’s research on implicit bias further crystallized the need for culturally competent educators. The survey also revealed that providers lacked the resources to work effectively in the classroom. Additionally, their organizational structure limited their ability to access grant funds, as many providers were LLCs and small family childcare homes. These barriers set them on a journey to find innovative ways to support these programs.
Commissioner for the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood Beth Bye with children of MotherlyLuv Too Family Childcare Center, New Haven
In 2015, our innovative approach to creating lasting systematic change in the delivery of quality, affordable early care and education to communities historically disadvantaged by inequalities in our State’s educational system, was given the name CERCLE.
CERCLE supports our goals by developing programs focused on improving the learning environments for children and families in neighborhoods where they live and work. Through our network of Black- and Latino-owned early childhood education programs operating in Greater New Haven, Bridgeport, Stamford, and Stratford, we work as a collaborative.
Comprised of educators, center directors, group home providers, family child care home providers, and providers offering before- and after-school care serving low- to moderate-income families, CERCLE leverages public and private funding. We employ a shared services model to deliver services that help to improve the sustainability of childcare businesses so that they may continue to provide vital services of care and education to families and children.