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Kingsport Child Development Center works to provide a stable, nurturing environment

April 5th, 2012 5:01 pm by Staff Report

Kingsport Child Development Center works to provide a  stable, nurturing environment

Cindy Housewright has worked at the Center for 12.5 years and has been the executive director since 2010.

By Cindy Harmon

The egg carton caterpillars and prehistoric dinosaurs that roam the halls are as bright and adorable as the children that created them. The classrooms are filled with love, laughter, learning and, yeah, an occasional tear. But the playground is everybody’s favorite place.

What started out as The Kingsport Colored School, a nursery where black women could leave their children while they worked making munitions and war supplies at the Army Ammunition plant during World War II, was integrated and incorporated in the 60s and is now called the Kingsport Child Development Center. Through the years its location may have changed but it still provides a stable, nurturing and educational environment for 71 children ranging from 6 weeks to 5 years of age.

"We provide a great service to the area with our infant/toddler and pre-school curriculum. We are a learning center, not just a play center," said Cindy Housewright, who has worked at the Center for 12.5 years and has been the executive director since 2010.

"We use assessments, even on infants and toddlers, and pull out individual goals to work on with each child. Not every facility does this and it makes a huge difference when they start kindergarten," she added.

The children aren’t the only ones receiving assessments, the State Department of Human Services evaluates the facility annually and, for the past several years, the Center has received the three star quality rating, the highest award given.

"Our senior staff is the backbone of the center. I am so proud of them because they work really hard to get that," Housewright beamed, "it’s an ongoing process, they care deeply about the families and are committed and dedicated to this place."

A retired nurse and board member, Diana Hurley, secured a $5,000 grant last year, from the United Way, which was used to purchase new safety standard compliant infant cribs, as well as blankets, sheets and mobiles. More recently, the Center obtained a $3,000 grant from the Kingsport Community Foundation, an affiliate of the East Tennessee Foundation which believes in awarding grants that enrich lives and strengthen Greater Kingsport forever.

"They helped us to purchase two new Bye-Bye buggies for the infants and toddlers and three new tumbling mats for our playroom. The children get opportunities for physical development using the mats and outdoor time, as well as sensory development through this grant money, it’s wonderful for them to get out of their rooms and go for a walk and do so safely," Housewright said.

KCDC’s biggest fundraiser, a Bingo Night is on Thursday, April 19, in The Press Room at the downtown Food City. The $30 tickets must be bought in advance and include dinner, door prizes, a silent auction and 15 rounds of prize-winning bingo.

"It’s a lot of fun and we have something for just about everyone, trips, gift certificates," said Hurley. "The area merchants have been fantastic, so gracious and so willing to help."

All proceeds go to their "Wishes Do Come True" campaign which provides books, toys and other articles needed by the classroom teachers designed to promote education and early childhood development.

The center is located at 118 Clay Street and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, year round. They are state licensed and can serve up to 73 children, so there are a few openings available. "We are the only sliding fee scale child care center in the area. With assistance from the United Way, we can offer partial scholarships to families depending on need and annual income, and I feel we make an impact so the parents can go to work and/or school," Housewright said.

For information on the fundraiser, volunteering or about enrolling a child, email: or call 423-392-4675 to schedule a visit.

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