Blakemore Children's Center
3604 Whitland Ave | Nashville, TN 37205
Hours of Operation: 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday
Blakemore Children's Center grows children to be self-reliant, lifelong learners who value differences in others and use their skills to shape the world around them.
With our motto, Believe Children Can, Blakemore Children's Center strives to meet the individual needs of each child and family. A community outreach of Blakemore United Methodist Church, we provide a loving, nurturing environment for child care and early childhood education that is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and 3-star rated by the Tennessee Department of Human Resources.
We believe each child is a whole person who learns and grows in many ways-physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. We seek to provide a safe teaching/learning environment, which fosters and nurtures this growth.
Because the world in which our children live is rapidly changing, we seek to help each child develop the confidence and competence to function in the world of the future. We emphasize activities centered on themes of friendship, cooperation, compassion and kindness. Our program is designed to help children develop the tools that enable them to acknowledge, understand, accept, value, and celebrate themselves, others and the world.
We believe that children are active participants and learners. Therefore, our curriculum is child-based and stresses process-oriented experiences rather than product-oriented experiences. Because children learn best through play, they spend lots of time in active, often messy, play.
Description of the BCC Program
A unique feature of the BCC preschool program is its location in a house, which is used in its entirety for learning experiences. The physical space in the house provides a warm atmosphere for a mixed age inclusive program of two and a half to five-year-olds. Because it is situated in a residential neighborhood, children experience a sense of community with opportunities to explore and learn about local residents, parks, and community buildings in the immediate area. The daily curriculum is organized around ongoing themes or projects that originate from children’s interests. The program is infused with an anti-bias approach to education to enhance the sense of community in a diverse world.
The sunroom functions as a library and computer center, and the dining room is used solely for meal and snacks. During meals and snacks, socialization skills are encouraged as children eat family-style and attention is given to aesthetic beauty (ex. live flowers in vases on each table, artwork displayed). Learning activities provided allow children opportunities to actively explore and engage with materials provided throughout all rooms of the house. Typical experiences available to children on a daily basis include art, home living, creative play, gross motor activities (inside and outside), writing, listening, science, math, language, perceptual activities, blocks and manipulatives, and personal safety. Children also have the opportunity to participate in a circle/sharing time where the theme/project is explored with teachers’ support and guided direction.
The “APT” All Play Together Playground is universally accessible so that those with physical challenges can access all areas of the outside play and learning environment along with typically developing peers. Portions of the playground are left in their natural state so that children have the opportunity to discover and explore the wonder of nature.
Housed inside Blakemore United Methodist Church, the Maxine Cassetty Infant/Toddler Program opened in July 2008. The program serves children six weeks to two and an half years old, in a specially designed, multi-age environment. Children are assigned a primary caregiver when enrolled. In this way, children do not need to experience transition of caregiver or environment until they are ready to move to the preschool program. Caregivers work four ten hour days so that parents see the same staff in the morning and afternoon. This provides continuity of care for the children and builds a strong, reciprocal relationship between caregivers and families.
The infant/toddler outside area is a natural playscape designed for wonder and exploration. Children develop large and small muscles while playing in the grass, rolling on the hill, digging in sand, splashing in water, chasing balls and bubbles, drawing with chalk or painting on the easel.
BCC is a community of families and staff that represent a variety of ethnicities, races, religions, abilities, disabilities, and gender. Through our daily interactions, children learn about each other and our staff. We celebrate each other’s holidays and customs in the classroom as well as all program events. Children leave us with an understanding and empathy for others because of the experiences they have had at BCC.
BCC collaborates with families as we seek to provide an optimal education and nurturing environment for children. All families are members of the BCC Connection, our family/staff organization. Families are invited to volunteer in the center, chaperone on field trips, participate in decision making, help on work days at the center, assist with fundraising efforts, and share personal talents and occupations. Some family members serve on the BCC board of directors. All families are given the opportunity to provide input into the center’s program and services through annual surveys and discussion at BCC Connection meetings and in conversation with staff. Additionally, family members are always welcome to eat a hot lunch with their child. By family members involvement in BCC your children know that they are important. They see that you trust and value their teachers and caregivers.
BCC maintains a lending library so that families have access to books, articles, and videos concerning parenting and educating young children. Children may also check out books from the school’s library.
Originally named the Mattye Jones Child Care Center, it opened August 1, 1976 as a community program of Blakemore United Methodist Church. Its purpose was to provide a safe, loving, learning center for children whose parents were employed full-time. In August 1997, Blakemore Children’s Center underwent a significant transformation of purpose and program. BCC became a multi-age, inclusive environment where each child is valued as an individual and learning occurs through developmentally appropriate experiences. BCC took the affirmative step of reserving some of its enrollment spaces for children with diagnosed special needs.
The BCC Board of Directors recognized that for the program, with its new and expanded focus to be successful, it was necessary to seek outside funding and diverse community representation on the Board. Since August 1997, BCC has become accredited by NAEYC; 3-star rated by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, become a partner agency with United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, participates in the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program, and serves children through the Child Care Certificate Program.
In addition to United Way funding, BCC has received grants from local and national foundations to build the “APT” All Play Together Playground and to provide scholarship assistance to families whose children would otherwise be unable to attend BCC. BCC has also received in-kind donations for storage cabinets, children’s cubbies, remodeling of the children’s bathroom, computers, and event advertising. Annual fundraising efforts include Breakfast with Santa and Scholastic Book Fair, Best of Nashville Brownie Bake-off, Mum Sale, Poinsettia Sale and yard sales. BCC has developed volunteer relationships with Hands on Nashville and employees of Hospital Corporation of America.
BCC serves as a practicum site for students from local universities, the Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance, and students working on the Child Development Associate Credential. While BCC provides valuable experience to these students, BCC benefits from their enthusiasm, growing knowledge and extra attention for children in our program.
The BCC Board of Directors has expanded its membership in numbers and composition. It includes members of BUMC, parents and community volunteers with expertise to guide BCC.
With our motto, Believe Children Can, we serve as a model of successful preschool inclusion.