HAMPTON, Va. — Children love to play at Peake Childhood Center in Hampton.
The nonprofit early childhood education center in Hampton promotes a safe and healthy learning environment for students.
"The children think they're playing, but what they're really doing is learning," said Executive Director Jennifer Parish.
Peake also offers sliding scale tuition, where a family's costs are based on their income.
"We provide both a high-quality program for our families and children, but also an affordable one," said Parish.
The center serves children on the Peninsula from six weeks old to age five. Parish said students come from families of all backgrounds and income levels, and the center helps them grow during critical development years.
"I've actually got[ten]... to watch them learn to speak and become more independent," said Parish.
According to Peake's website, many of its teachers hold degrees in early childhood education or related fields. Parish said the teachers also participate in ongoing professional development to better meet the needs of their students.
"We have just wonderful teaching staff here," said Parish. "They really work hard each day."
Parish said teachers use a variety of curricula in classrooms, including nutrition education.
"We provide breakfast, lunch, and a snack to all of our children," said Parish. "We talk to our children in the classrooms about what they're eating so that they know what they're eating. They're learning about vegetables and the value of eating those."
As part of its commitment to family engagement, the center invites families to meet with teachers and attend children's events throughout the school year.
The center also hosts monthly meetings with families and free parenting workshops.
"These are events that are specifically designed to help our families get the support that they need and also just to help them be more successful with their children," said Parish.
Peake's mission is to prepare young children for the next level of education and encourage them to reach their full potential.
"What we're doing is making sure that a hundred percent of our children walk into those kindergarten classrooms ready to learn so they can be successful in school...that they have the early literacy and math skills that they need, that they are able to self-regulate their behavior, and that they also have strong social-emotional skills," said Parish.
The center plans to open a second location in Newport News next year.
Tuition payments and fees only make up about a third of Peake's revenue. The nonprofit relies on grants and donations to help cover much of the funding and items they need.
You can support Peake Childhood Center on Give Local 757 Day, which is May 10. You can also donate today at the center's website.
Other nonprofits still have time to register ahead of Give Local 757 Day.