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Enhancing the Power of Early Childhood Learning

TC’s Rita Gold Center Receives a $500,000 Gift from the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation 

A gift from the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation will enhance education, research and training at TC's Rita Gold Early Childhood Center

The Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation has been supporting youth and education since its founding in 1917. To increase its impact, the Foundation recently announced a new strategic focus on early childhood, and is now advancing that goal through a $500,000 gift to support Teachers College’s Rita Gold Early Childhood Center.

“Early childhood is a critically important period in which to maximize the power of education,” said Bill Rueckert, the Foundation’s President, who also serves as Co-Chair of TC’s Board of Trustees. “We are proud to support TC, which is among the nation’s leading preparers of pre-K teachers, researchers and policy experts, and the Gold Center, which is considered one of the finest facilities of its kind.”  

Professor of Education Susan Recchia, a renowned early child specialist who serves as Rita Gold’s Faculty Director, says the gift will support the kind of human exchanges that make the Center unique.

“The quality of the Gold Center is in the people,” Recchia says. “Enhancing the space and the program affords more and better opportunities to engage in creative ways with parents and children and greater collaboration between teachers and students.”

Founded in 1985, the Gold Center serves infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families and functions as a research and training facility for TC faculty and students. Its curriculum is play-based and “emergent,” capitalizing on children's experiences in the world. The Center also offers music and art programs led by TC students in those fields and taps the expertise of students in the College’s school psychology, counseling and speech pathology programs.

The Foundation’s gift will enhance the ability to realize those aims at the Center, where limited space has created a daunting wait-list for new families and constraints on the number of students who can train there. The gift will be further leveraged through a Trustee Challenge for Capital Projects that was announced in October 2013 by long-time TC Trustee, Laurie M. Tisch.

“This is the biggest and most important gift our Foundation has made toward early childhood education,” said Rueckert. “We want to help meet the huge need across the country for well-trained and competent early childhood teachers. The Rita Gold Center offers a highly effective program for training teachers of young children, and with this gift we believe it will move closer to fulfilling its objective of preparing teachers on a bigger, broader scale.” Mindy Liss

(Published 7/8/2015)

Published Wednesday, Jul. 8, 2015