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UHS Child Care director enthusiastic about new service

November 07, 2023

Maureen Mecca’s career interest in the field of early childhood education started when she was a 19-year-old college student and has continued ever stronger as she has sought new professional opportunities.

The newly named director of the soon-to-be-a-reality UHS Child Care in Johnson City is excited about the high level of employee and public interest in the new center and is avidly looking forward to the day its doors open to the first youngsters from the Southern Tier.

“It usually takes a year or two to see the kind of interest we’re already finding among UHS employees and the community in enrolling children in the new center,” Ms. Mecca said.

WATCH: Facebook Live interview with Maureen on Nov. 7, 2023

UHS continues to make excellent progress toward opening the new facility in a renovated building at 619 Main St. in the Westover area of Johnson City. UHS’ partner in the operation of the child care center, Bright Horizons, will offer an educational curriculum that is one of the most highly rated nationwide.

With a wealth of experience and a passion for early childhood education, Ms. Mecca comes to the center with an impressive background in fostering positive relationships with children, families and staff members alike.

Born and raised in Binghamton, Ms. Mecca earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from the University of Albany. Most recently she has served with the Children’s Home of Wyoming Conference. With experience in child mental health, family engagement, program management and child development, she joined the Bright Horizons organization to continue her passion for serving families.

The new center will include a number of exceptional features, such as classrooms designed specifically for young children, including age-appropriate and challenging educational toys and materials, plus cozy furnishings.

Also included in the innovative design are a movement room for large-muscle activities, an active-learning and problem-solving laboratory, a library featuring dramatic play materials and books, developmentally appropriate outdoor play areas and windows positioned at a level where children can easily see out of them.

The center will have a strong educational component, using Bright Horizons’ curriculum, Discovery Driven Learning™, focusing on the whole child to help build a strong foundation for a successful future, Ms. Mecca noted.

Specific features will include:

  • Health and wellness and social-emotional learning
  • Language and literacy/thinking and learning/visual and creative arts: This curriculum teaches children how to respect the world in all of its diversity in community, character and inclusion.

“Our curriculum is what will set us apart,” Ms. Mecca said of the new center. “We take a holistic approach to learning, so that we go beyond the ABCs to focus as well on what the child is interested in.”

One day that might be numbers in the classroom, but the next day it might be plants and spiders and butterflies in the outdoors, depending on the youngsters’ interests.

The plan is for the center to start with 16 professional teachers on staff, with that number increasing to 18 in total. The teachers must come with true dedication to children and families, and will receive 40 hours of orientation and training specific to the center before starting.

“Our goal is for our curriculum to be learner-driven, and to inspire curiosity,” Ms. Mecca noted. “We want to be the premier child care program in the region.”

To learn more about the center, view the latest construction photos, or register your child, click here.