In late April, Stony Brook Child Care Center received a flower donation from local grower John Cannarelli, owner of Bay Gardens in East Moriches, as a show of appreciation for their valuable contribution during this crisis. Stony Brook Child Care Center, an important part of Stony Brook University, has remained open to care for the children of our essential workers.
“The flower delivery was such a great way to put a smile on the teachers’ faces, and they felt so appreciated. Thank you for providing us with these beautiful flowers,” said Katherine Houlihan-Catalano, assistant executive director. “We are truly all in this together!”
When the challenge of this pandemic hit our communities, Stony Brook Child Care rose to the occasion. After a brief initial shutdown to regroup and thoroughly sanitize the center, the center quickly reopened to care for children of essential employees. This included some new families whose child care had closed or was no longer available. “We are honored to support our essential worker families,” said Houlihan-Catalano.
Currently, they have a nurse on site. All staff and children’s temperatures are checked upon arrival. Drop-offs and pick-ups occur curbside, and both staff and parents wear face coverings at those times. In addition to their regular cleaning methods, they are bleaching high-touch areas twice a day and doing deep cleansing sanitation on the weekends.
Of course, the most essential ingredient is the continued love and support they so generously share with each of the children in their care, including those that are now staying home. Their dedicated teachers have come up with a variety of ways to reach all their families. They post activities, videos, helpful articles and storytimes through Google classroom and other various virtual platforms. Many teachers have organized car parades and have spent their weekends driving by their students’ homes to check in, give hope, and spread cheer to those who might be anxious or missing their beloved teachers.
As the center begins to look toward fully reopening, the staff remains hopeful that everyone will be together again soon. They look forward to serving the SBU community and the surrounding areas for many years.
For more information about Stony Brook Child Care Center, please visit Stony Brook Child Care Services.
— Tamara Gregorian, Community Relations