Today, United Way joined Nurtury Boston, a longstanding early ed partner, to celebrate the opening of a state of the art new “Learning Lab” at the Boston Housing Authority’s Bromley-Heath public housing development in Jamaica Plain.
The $17 million project is a result of what happens when non-profit partners, the community, and all levels of government come together to prioritize access to quality early learning opportunities. The Learning Lab will not only help children with their development and prepare them for school, but will provide parents and families with support for their broader needs and serve as a learning hub for teachers and educators. United Way contributed $500,000 to support the capital funding for the new facility, in addition to supporting Nurtury programs as one of our partner agencies.
“This is what it’s all about,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said today at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “The future of Boston is about making sure kids and their families have the resources they need to be successful. Places like this are where we stop talking about closing the achievement gap, and actually start doing something about it.”
The 20,000-square-foot facility will offer parents workforce development assistance such as mentoring, interviewing and workplace coaching as well as health screenings, parenting classes, nutrition coaching and GED classes. The project is also part of Boston’s commitment to universal school readiness – the Thrive in 5 movement, which the City of Boston and the United Way launched to ensure that all kids have the support and resources they (and their families) need to be ready for Kindergarten.
United Way and Thrive in 5 are also represented on Mayor Walsh’s Universal Pre-K Advisory Committee, which is looking at ways to further increase access to early education opportunities for all Boston children.
“The Bromley-Heath Learning Lab will add critical services for parents and teachers to significantly shape the future drivers of our region’s economy,” said Mike Durkin, President of United Way. “As a long-time partner of Nurtury, United Way is proud to build upon our joint history with this new era of innovation and partnership, as more non profits and communities are increasingly recognizing the need to provide families with an integrated, holistic approach to advance the healthy development of young children.”
Nurtury Learning Lab features
- The Lab will serve 175 children throughout the day, including 63 infant/toddlers, 60 preschoolers, and 52 children ages five to eight in the STEM-focused after school programs to be launched in the fall.
- Ten age-specific classrooms designed to acknowledge how one’s physical environment can enhance the learning experience while reducing stress.
- Natural outdoor playgrounds with rich vegetation and gardens and developmentally-appropriate play structures.
- An art studio and science-related classrooms that are designed for interactive technology and group activities.
- A multipurpose community room for exercising children’s indoor gross motor skills and for community meetings and workshops for early education professionals.