Santa Fe Harvest Festival — 20 years of caring and compassionate childcare by: Maria Mazzone
Santa Fe Centers, serving childcare needs from infants to kindergarten, celebrated their 20th Anniversary on Saturday, October 17th with their 1st Annual Fall Festival held on their beautifully cared for acre of land. Over 200 neighbors, friends and center families attended. Event organizer Emily Weisgerber and the center’s staff provided sand art, face painting, obstacle course, lawn bowling, ring toss and pumpkin decorating activities. The children and their families enjoyed riding an 18’ miniature fire truck around the grounds. Group movement activities using the center’s CATCH (catch.org) program activities are planned and implemented by the teachers. At the festival, families were encouraged to participate as they enjoyed the day. Refreshments were apples and popcorn in addition to a truck making ices and hot chocolate to order.
Director Jane Cabildo, RN, MS and husband Dudley, are on site to create a safe and emotionally warm hands-on educational environment. The activities provided are research based to prepare the whole child through the use of the High Scope curriculum in the classroom. Our goal is to work with each child and family to prepare them for the future with the acquisition of life skills. This curriculum stresses the importance of choice, planning, responsibility, perseverance and the joy of discovery through math, science, language, and art, sensory and outdoor activities.
The Infant Toddler Center at Santa Fe is housed in the New Providence United Methodist Church on Springfield Avenue. The relationship between Santa Fe and the church family has been an extremely important one and with the support of Pastor Victor Franco and his wife Stephanie. We are committed to reaching out to the community as we create a warm atmosphere that welcomes each and every family. We were happy to have the Pastor and his wife attend our Festival and greet everyone.
Nancy Wohlleb, mother of an infant daughter at Santa Fe attended the festival with her family and said, “We had a great time! It was such a nice way to spend a Saturday. I really enjoyed being able to meet other parents and spend time with other families from Santa Fe, outside of the drop-off and pick up times, during the week. I also enjoyed being able to see my daughter play with her peers and have activities geared towards her age group. We all had a nice time.” Many people like Nancy felt they were able to chat and relax with other families and get to know each other.
Santa Fe began 20 years ago as an expansion of St. Luke’s Daycare, first moving into the classroom space at the New Providence United Methodist Church. Then Santa Fe acquired the former Country Playschool at 1496 Springfield Avenue to accommodate the need for more home-like childcare alternatives in the area and began offering full time Kindergarten in 2002 and summer camp in 2005. Full time staff member hold BA’s and CDA’s and have been in the field for an average of 10 years with some receiving education support through grants from QRIS. Santa Fe is active in the community participating in the New Providence Business Association, the Memorial Day Parade, the New Providence Street Fair and the annual Mr. Ray fundraiser for the New Providence Memorial Library.
The Harvest Festival was such a successful event, Santa Fe would really love to make this an annual event and create a new tradition. Based on the turnout and overwhelming positive comments of families and staff, our future plans are to continue to do what we do best – facilitate the growth and development of each child and family.
Authored by: Maria Mazzone
Resident of New Providence, NJ
Mother of a 3 year old Santa Fe Centers student