45th Anniversary – Press Release
Wonders Early Learning + Extended Day Celebrates Its 45th Anniversary
Bethesda, MD, Release: March 22, 2021
Wonders Early Learning + Extended Day, a nonprofit organization, celebrates 45 years of guiding children’s growth and development, serving families, and promoting educator professional development.
Originally conceived as a way to provide quality child care to working families in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Wonders Early Learning + Extended has grown from its beginnings in the basement of All Saints All Day Episcopal Church to today, operating eight programs at sites located in Northwest DC, Bethesda and Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Wonders believes that children develop and learn through play in a nurturing and diverse community. A vital aspect of Wonders’ philosophy is its commitment to anti-bias and social justice education. Since its founding, Wonders has maintained a commitment to provide access to its high quality child care programs through its Financial Assistance Fund. In recent years, Wonders has awarded an annual average of $355,000 in tuition assistance to families who would not otherwise be able to attend.
Wonders Early Learning Programs are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and all Maryland early learning and extended day programs participate in EXCELS, Maryland’s quality rating system. Wonders is also a partner in the regional Equity in Early Learning Initiative (EELI). EELI seeks to continue the development of best practices in early childhood leadership, teaching and learning, and family engagement around equity-focused practice.
Wonders offers educator workshops and parent education opportunities through the Wonders Professional Development Consortium. The Professional Development Consortium is a Maryland State Department of Education approved training organization that partners with trainers throughout the region to offer workshops that advance educators’ credentials and skills.
Wonders’ Executive Director, Joanne Hurt, who began as an extended day teacher 32 years ago, has been a strong advocate for advancement in early care and education and extended day programs. “We have always valued our work with young children and families and now, with the impact of the pandemic, the importance of early care and education and child care has gained broad recognition. Families need a strong and robust child care system in order to thrive. Equally important, high quality and equity focused care and education nurtures the growth and development of each child and builds the foundation of life-long learning. Wonders’ commitment to creating careers for our educators and staff is key to our growth over the years and our ability to sustain through this past year. I am proud of what we were able to accomplish this year. We know child care is a public good and we are excited to work with many allies as our sector rebuilds in the months and years to come”.
Celebrations include free author book readings and monthly parent support workshops. To learn more about or to support Wonders Early Learning + Extended Day in its work to advance early childhood education and make quality programming available to all, visit https://wonderslearning.org/.