The Garden District Civic Association is happy to introduce our neighbors to this month’s spotlighted business: The Child Development Cooperative.
The Child Development Cooperative is owned and operated by Jennifer Crowell, a southern California native who opened the cooperative ten years ago in Mid-City. Prior to opening The Child Development Cooperative, Jennifer opened and ran the child care center at the A.C. Lewis YMCA. When the YMCA decided to close this center, Jennifer was able to find a new and larger location to open The Child Development Cooperative. She chose the mid-city area of Baton Rouge because of the people and businesses in the area.
The facility is currently located at 3954 Florida Blvd. The entrance of the building faces Convention St. and is located between Live Oak & Jasmine Streets. The physical indoor space is quite large at approximately 10,000 square feet and the the outdoor campus is 2.5 acres.
Jennifer tells us that she is from southern California where she earned her degree. She worked in several early childhood programs while in school and found a home in a nationally accredited program where she worked with all age groups and was eventually promoted to lead teacher, then curriculum coordinator followed closely by assistant-director and finally director before moving to Baton Rouge. After moving here, Jennifer worked in banking while searching for employment in a preschool that would fit her education and experience. She spotted an advertisement for an organization looking to open a child care center. She applied for the job and was hired and given the reins to build a program that she knew was best for children. She opened, built, and ran the program successfully for the A.C. Lewis YMCA for ten years before taking it over herself. This led to the creation of The Child Development Cooperative which remained at the YMCA location for ten years before moving to its’ current Florida Blvd. location.
Jennifer describes her business model as follows: “I know from scientifically based research that a play-based, child-led program is what is best for children. That is what I strive to provide. As new research is conducted, we change our model to incorporate that information. Our program looked different 10 years ago and it will look different 10 years from now as we grow and know more about brain development and best practices.”
“I think what sets us apart from other child care centers is the amount of time we spend outside and that we protect children’s right to be children and don’t subscribe to the academic push-down that is happening in our society. We have put into practice the adage “it takes a village to raise a child” and provide many opportunities for families to participate and volunteer.”
In addition to operating The Cooperative, Jennifer has become a trainer for the State of Louisiana in early childhood programming. She offers training classes for early childhood professionals and consults with other programs on various aspects of early childhood programming.
The Child Development Cooperative provides full-time child care services for children from ages six weeks to five years. There are nine full-time employees and Jennifer states that they will be growing to ten employees in 2020 as they add another classroom. An infant room was added this fall and she is ready to add a toddler room in January 2020.
Word of mouth and personal recommendations from current or past Co-op families are the main form of advertisement and openings are announced on Facebook and Instagram. Typical enrollment is in the spring for reserving a space in the fall. Jennifer states,“The waiting list for enrollment is typically long so now is the perfect time to join our program”.
The Cooperative’s website address is: http://thechilddevelopmentcooperative.com
The Instagram profile: @thechilddevelopmentcooperative
The Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/TheChildDevelopmentCooperative/
Operating hours are 7 a.m to 5:30 p.m, Monday through Friday.
The Garden District Civic Association wishes to congratulate Jennifer Crowell on the tenth anniversary of the opening of The Child Development Cooperative and as always, we encourage our Garden District neighbors to consider patronizing this locally-owned business.