Reminder Assistant Editor
HOLYOKE On Oct. 4, Square One formally opened the doors at its latest location on High Street to the infants, toddlers, preschoolers, parents and caregivers of Holyoke.
Previously known as the Springfield Day Nursery, Square One provides early childhood education, day care services for children and a Parenting Works Program for parents and caregivers.
"According to Census data, 45.4 percent of Holyoke's three to five-year-olds are enrolled in preschool," Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One said. "More than half of Holyoke's children are entering kindergarten without having benefited from a quality early education and care experience."
Kimberley Lee, vice president of advancement said that a quality preschool experience is vital to the development of a child's social, emotional and intellectual skills, therefore allowing them to succeed in school.
Lee added that the choice to open a new location in Holyoke was based on the needs, not only of children but of the parents as well.
According to information released by Square One, almost 90 percent of children the organization serves over 1,000 children per day enrolled in their six facilities are living at or below poverty level.
Lee said their organization is committed to providing affordable services for children and parents, such as the Parenting Works Program, which provides parent education, support groups, training, home visitation and case management.
She noted that many parents utilize this program to aid them in talking to their children about "life's transitions," such as divorce. Services to help parents learn how to properly and effectively discipline their children, or even to help with a child's physical development, such as potty training, are also available.
Since its founding as the Springfield Day Nursery in 1883, the organization has been providing quality care for infants and toddlers in the area and evolving with their needs, Lee said.
According to information released by Square One, the organization is "concentrating its energy, experience and skill on meeting the special, under-served and unmet needs of children in this community who are most at-risk now: the children of the homeless, incarcerated, refugees and/or immigrants, abusive and neglectful parents, and low-income families not yet eligible for permanent funding."
"Kids who get off to a good start are better equipped to become successful and happy as adults," Kagan said. "They become more productive and more likely to make a positive contribution to the community. Moreover, they become better equipped to provide expanded opportunities to their own children. At Square One, our role is to provide that foundation to children for better lives and a better community."
For more information about Square One go to www.startatsquareone.org.