2003-07-04 / Community

A Child’s Place Is A Dream Fulfilled

A Child’s Place Is A Dream Fulfilled

Joan Gallagher has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She graduated with honors from Brooklyn College with her B.A. in 1972 and earned her Masters in Early Childhood Education in 1997.

It was in kindergarten that Joan knew she wanted to be involved in the early formation of minds. A gifted kindergarten teacher, who nurtured and challenged her students with the goal of bringing them to the next level of development, inspired her to become a life-long learner.

As a teenager, she volunteered at a local after-school center in the Marlborough projects in Brooklyn, New York. She learned from this experience that she could make a difference in a child’s life through listening, acceptance, and empathy and gained extensive experience working with the individual needs of a low-income population.

She began her career as a group teacher and later became the director at the campus child care center of Kingsborough Community College. As a parent co-op, the center required extensive parent involvement, which instilled in her a deep understanding of and empathy with parents’ roles in advocating for their children. Under the guidance of her director, a Bank Street Graduate, Joan adopted a philosophy of education that incorporates the Bank Street approach to educating young children.

In 1987 she opened A Child’s Place, a preschool program, on the first floor of her three-family home. At that time group family childcare was in the grassroots stage. She joined a steering committee advocating for group family childcare licensing. This early advocacy led her to become President of the Citywide Family Child Care Association for six years.

Presently she has two-group family child care licenses with the Department of Health. A Child’s Place provides 3 sessions of UPK, with twelve attending each session. She has been collaborating with District 27 since the inception of UPK and was among the first group family childcare providers in New York City to receive a contract from the Department of Education.

The mission of A Child’s Place is to create a safe, nurturing educational environment that reflects, embraces, and honors the unique intellectual, physical, social, and emotional growth of each child.

Gallagher is a teacher, director, parent supporter, child advocate, entrepreneur and a mother of two sons, twenty-one and twenty-four. To remain intellectually stimulated and to give back to the field, she teaches a graduate class at Brooklyn College and presents workshops for agencies such as Child Care, Inc. and Bank Street College. She also is a consultant with the Project for Rockaway Youth in Safety and Education Coalition (PRYSE), which is a federally funded project.

A Child’s Place is Gallagher’s creation, a work in progress, and a dream fulfilled. The program is a culmination of all she has learned over the years about teaching young children and working with families.

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