The Beginning of SECC
In 1978, when Sarah Redding founded a family day care in her personal residence, there were very limited options for full day childcare in our community. Employed parents made informal arrangements with neighbors or babysitters but there were no centers offering pre-school full day care or before and after school care for older children. Sarah knew that there was a need for high quality early care and education and began work to meet that need. Sarah’s goal to provide high quality early care and education grew out of her belief that a child’s positive self-concept is a prerequisite for healthy development. Shew taught her staff to respect and nurture children, keeping with her philosophy that children must move, try on, taste, touch, manipulate, and interact with their environment.
By 1982, these efforts paid off when the Skaneateles Early Childhood Center relocated to the First Presbyterian Church and could care for 25 children. By 1995, enrollment had grown to 50. After years of planning and fundraising, further growth was possible in 1998 when the state-of the-art facility opened on East Genesee Street; enrollment increased to over 100 children. This expansion went a long way to meet the need, but the Center still has a long waiting list, particularly for infants. A full generation of pre-school infants, toddlers, and children has enjoyed their time at the Center and the goal continues to be to offer the highest quality early childhood experience for our community’s youngest citizens. In 2014, Sarah announced her plans to retire in 2015 and a careful transition program for the management of the Center was developed.