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Daycare Center Blossoms

 
At the Johns Hopkins Family Center, Lynne Miller, wife of JH Medicine Dean/CEO Edward Miller, launches "Bookworm," a project designed to nurture children's love of reading. She spent an April morning at the center, mostly on the floor, reading to babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers from the collection of colorful Dr. Seuss classics she presented to the center. She plans to return to the center each month to read and add to the library.

When Harry came into the life of Amy Heaps, she was thrilled with her new baby boy, and, like most first-time working mothers, conflicted when her maternity leave came to an end. Her daycare arrangement quickly soured when the private nanny she'd hired began a habit of calling in sick. "It was a constant stress for me," says Heaps, director of public affairs for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, "and it meant that Harry had inconsistent care."

When Hopkins opened its on-site child care center in September 2001, Harry was there for opening day, and his mother has never looked back. She knew the reputation of the center's managing company, Bright Horizons Family Solutions, was top of the line and has witnessed her son's social, language and tactile skills flourish. "Everything about it, including the architecture, is designed using the latest thinking in early childhood education," says Heaps.

Although the Johns Hopkins Family Center now is a thriving 19-month-old toddler, it had a long and excruciating birth. Fourteen years of on-again, off-again surveys and feasibility studies preceded its opening. But my, what a center! It's a spacious (20,300 square feet), two-story facility, bright with light and blonde wood. The playground sits high on its hillside perch at 98 S. Broadway, overlooking a spectacular view of downtown Baltimore. The food is catered, "time out" is a no-no, and the children represent cultures from around the world.

"We're the Cadillac in the industry," says Nancy Kovacs, center director. Bright Horizons has been named one of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work for in America" for four years, and was recently named the No. 1 workplace for women for the second year in a row. Clients include 88 Fortune 500 companies.
The center's enrollment has grown steadily from 16 children to 90 (it is licensed for 156), and although tuition can be pricey (ranging from $900 to $1100 monthly), scholarships based on need are available through the University's WorkLife. Currently, parents include physicians, postdoctoral fellows, students, physician assistants, nurses, staff, administrators and more. As for Heaps, she's happy that Harry's close by. "I feel secure, and he's being prepared for school in a way I couldn't do otherwise."


-Mary Ellen Miller



The Johns Hopkins Family Center was the showcased April "Center of the Month" on Bright Horizons' Web site, www.brighthorizons.com. For information about the center, call 410-614-4111, or go to www.jhbrighthorizons.org

-Martha Thomas

 

 

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