Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center makes changes

  • Hailey Thibault plays with Liam Hautenan at Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center on Tuesday. photo by Ben Conant—

  • Students at Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Students at Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Students at Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Students at Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Students at Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center on Tuesday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/14/2021 4:24:37 PM

It’s not uncommon for parents seeking childcare in the Monadnock region to be placed on a waitlist, as there just aren’t enough spots for families in need of a safe and nurturing environment for their children.

Understanding the challenges families face in the region, Dublin Community Preschool & Child Care Center recently underwent a redesign of its two-room school on Main Street in an effort to maximize the number of children they could serve.

Program Director Sheena Baldwin said the center is allowed up to 36 children in accordance with its licensing from the state, but due to the way the center was set up, they were only physically able to accommodate 26.

“I took a big step back to see what we could do different,” Baldwin said. “I had been thinking about how to optimize the space for not only the programs, but for the community.”

So prior to the center’s Christmas break, Baldwin said they pulled everything out of both rooms and embarked on what she described as a “major undertaking” that elicited the help of parents and volunteers.

The smaller of the two areas had been used for infants and toddlers, but they were only able to actually have 10 in the room leaving them six short of capacity. They had 16 in the preschool room, but that space was allowed 20.

“Infants and toddlers is where we get the most inquiries,” Baldwin said. “It’s of great demand for the community.”

So they switched the two rooms, reconfigured the spaces, and added partitions to the infant/toddler area to give the programs some separation and much-needed space.

“It was a challenge for the teachers because we had such a wide range of ages and stages,” Baldwin said. “It was at times a little tricky.”

Now, the center will max out at eight infants, 10 toddlers, and “we essentially doubled our infant and toddler space,” Baldwin said. The 16 in the preschool range is at the top of the allowed numbers.

Even with the changes, Baldwin knows they won’t be able to meet everyone’s needs. She said since the beginning of the year she has received more than 40 inquiries for childcare and averages about three a week from their online form. She also gets plenty of phone calls and the waiting list continues to grow.

“As of now, I have space available, but names on that list will likely be filling those,” she said.

Maximizing the space also allows to bring in more revenue for the nonprofit, Baldwin said.

She said for a while it was a struggle to find the right staffing to meet the required ratios for their state licensing, but a few recent hires has the center at full staffing and able to handle full capacity. And with the change of the rooms and defining the areas for infants and toddlers, Baldwin said it also gave her a chance to discuss roles with the staff and move them around to where the best fit was.

“It was nice to present them with the opportunity to change,” Baldwin said.

Another change is coming to the preschool this fall, when it partners with ConVal’s preschool training program to become the new site for students to learn the trade, hopefully creating some future employees in the process.

Baldwin said they take infants as early as six weeks and the preschool program goes through age 5. They also have a before and after school program for Dublin children for ages six to 11.

For more information, visit https://www.dublinpreschoolandchildcare.org/.


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