When the Precious Cargo Daycare and Learning Center closed abruptly in Branford this past June, roughly 100 families found themselves reeling.
Now, the See Us Grow Daycare and Learning Center LLC is scheduled to open at the 249 W. Main St. address. This will become the second location for See Us Grow, which has operated in Wallingford for just over two years.
See Us Grow is scheduled to open on Jan. 7.
Owner Kelly Barbarotta said she had moved from the Berkshires in Massachusetts to Branford when she was 13 years old. She said she had found it a lovely, tight-knit community. Although she pursued a master’s degree in early childhood education and now lives in North Branford, she said she has kept in touch with her high school friends in the shoreline town.
“I love children. I come from a large, extended family,” she said, noting that her mother had four siblings and her father 10. She said members of her family have careers in health care and education, with her father having served as an assistant principal in Pittsfield, where she spent her earliest years.
She said that her large family had strong family values—and that strong family values are part of the day care environment she provides. She also pointed to the individualized instruction each of the children who attend See Us Grow receives.
In addition, See Us Grow offers amenities that Barbarotta termed very unusual for a day care facility. For instance, See Us Grow is open late hours—until 8 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Friday—and it offers day care on a full-time, part-time and even hourly basis.
See Us Grow will also accept children on a drop-in basis with 24 hours notice, as long as the relevant paperwork is complete and staff is available.
Perhaps because of her Berkshires area roots, Barbarotta said that, other than the computer that is used for classroom activities, she focuses on activities that do not involve technology, such as art projects or, when warm weather arrives, playing outdoors.
Barbarotta said she began as a teacher and assistant director at the now-defunct Precious Cargo when that center opened in 1999. She
termed its condition “deteroriated” when she and members of her family went to renovate the premises.
To make the interior warm and inviting, she has selected a color palette of
pastels and earth tones. And she has called upon her supportive family—especially her father, who has done much of the construction work there, and her nephew—for help in rehabilitating the premises.
“We did everything brand new from the floors to the ceiling to the toys,” she said. “It’s going to be great.”