Rita Gold | Teachers College Columbia University

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Coordinator: Patrice Nichols

Contact Person: Alma Otuonye * Email: ritagoldcenter@tc.edu

Phone: (212) 678-3013

Fax: (212) 678-3048

Box: 98 * Location: 525 W 120th Street New York, New York 10027-6696

Welcome to the Rita Gold Early Childhood Center

The Rita Gold Early Childhood Center serves to promote the growth and development of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families through four inter-related practices:

  • Child care and early education for young children from 2 months to 5 years
  • Professional preparation for graduate students
  • Ongoing research to improve practice and inform theory in early childhood care and education
  • Outreach activities for early childhood professionals locally, nationally, and internationally

Founded in 1982 as the Center for Infants and Parents and located at Teachers College, the Center now provides inclusive and culturally responsive care for infants, toddlers, preschool children, and their families who are affiliated with Columbia University.

"My oldest daughter joined RGC in the preschool room and missed a lot of RGC fun. Still Zoe remembers fondly when her parents came and cooked risotto for all her friends there. My daughter, Izzie, was very lucky to have wonderful teachers through all her years at RGC, starting in the infant room and ending with Margaret and Kuan as her pre-school teachers. She loved every hour she spent at RGC with the friends she made there, but perhaps the most cherished were the moments when she sang, danced, painted..."

—Dana, Parent
2005-2011

"I have worked and visited many childhood centers throughout my schooling and career as an early childhood educator but there is really no place like RGC. It was a place of growth, wonder and study for me but I think this was one of the things that made it especially unique for all involved there. Teachers and children were constantly involved in thoughtfulness, exploration, wonder and study."

—Graduate Assistant
2008-10

"I remember so many wonderful times: Kuan playing guitar with Charlotte, my putting Abigail on the slide in the infant room for the first time, watching Solveig play in the preschool room. We live near the Little Red Lighthouse, and when I see it, I always remember that [on a field trip] the park ranger cried when Charlotte's class brought her a gift!...BTW, Charlotte says: 'I remember the play strucsher in the big class room and I rememberd the art show.'"

—Douglas, Parent
2005-10

"…a child suggested that we should go to Mushroom Park. The teacher asked why…and then another asked how we would decide to go, and a child said, "Oh, well we have to vote so it will be fair." A child counted out the votes, an overwhelming majority in favor of the trip… a child could have a suggestion that would immediately shape our day, even a suggestion that was out of the ordinary or even a bit challenging would be honored or discussed. It made me think about all of the unnecessary rules and routines that often shape our work and really interrogate their meaning. …I changed as a teacher on that day…and this is the standard that I try to hold myself to…Rita Gold reshaped what I see as possible in early childhood education."

—Dana, Doctoral Research Fellow
2010

"Rita Gold was an extraordinary start in life for Oliver and a tremendous support for me as a single mother. I still remember the first days when at 3 months…the teachers would do little movements and things with him and say how remarkable he was! … We loved the community and the teachers...They were loving and caring teachers who were totally devoted to Oliver's educational experience. The grad students were incredibly impressive and meant a lot to Oliver."

—Beth, Parent
2006-10

“Seeing our daughter, Sydney, grow from a crawler with little verbalization to a runner/climber with significant talking in a mere one year is astounding. Sydney's growth has been directly affected by her teachers and her friends. Sydney regularly calls for all of them.”

—Vicky, Parent
2015

“My memories of Rita Gold are all truly wonderful. The teachers and the children have created an environment that is warm, loving, creative and supportive - unlike any I have seen. There is a true sense of community amongst the families, students and staff. Thank you for everything!”

—Anna, Student Teacher
2009-2011

"Every time I observe at RGC, I am struck and so so so very impressed by the children -- the way that they are able to focus for far longer than even I am using toys and materials that have no connection to technology, the endless and limitless story lines and ways to play, their cooperation with one another and ability to talk through conflict. It really feels like Dewey's philosophy of education is being realized here, where each individual is reaching their highest capacity for development (mentally, socially, emotionally). The teachers treat the children with utmost respect and have high expectations for what they can accomplish...I'm thankful for being able to look at this type of classroom with a renewed attitude and vision."

—Bri'Ann, Graduate Student
2016

"When my son Liam first started in the infant room he was six months old. In his short life, we had spent practically every waking moment - and most sleeping ones also - together up until that point... I was a nervous wreck leaving him in the care of others to return to my graduate work. I spent a lot of time in the observation booth during his first day. On his second day, I walked into the observation booth and I noticed the teachers getting the kids ready to go play outside. Liam was sprawled across his teacher, Ji Yeoun,'s lap and was gazing calmly at her face as she lovingly smoothed sun screen across his forehead and cheeks. This was the same baby who screamed bloody murder when I, HIS MOTHER, would come within a foot of him with a tube of sunscreen. I watched for a minute, left the booth, and stopped worrying. Liam adjusted beautifully to the infant room, and then to the toddler room, and finally to the preschool room. The Rita Gold staff and families were an extension of our own family for the 4 years we were there. I am forever grateful."

—Nina, Parent
2009-2013

"I worked at Rita Gold as a practicum student and graduate assistant during my enrollment in the early childhood program at Teachers College. I have worked and visited many childhood centers throughout my schooling and career as an early childhood educator but there is really no place like RGC. It was a place of growth, wonder and study for me but I think this was one of the things that made it especially unique for all involved there. Teachers and children were constantly involved in thoughtfulness, exploration, wonder and study."

Graduate Assistant
2008-10