120th Anniversary

Head Start

CLC opened its doors in 1902 as Stamford Day Nursery. It was founded as part of the Settlement House Movement and was run by ‘women of manor houses’ to provide child care services to immigrants (influx from Ireland).

During World War II, a second center was opened to accommodate working mothers in the defense industry. In 1965, the Stamford Head Start Program began serving families and in 1969, the Stamford Day Care Program began with a grant from the City of Stamford as part of the state funded day care center initiative that focused on working poor families.

In 1972, the agency changed its name to Child Care Center of Stamford. Inc. and the following year moved the headquarters to the current location at 64 Palmers Hill Road.

In October, 1997, the School Readiness Program began with 96 children at Stark School, Coretta King, Chester Addison and Yerwood Day Care Centers and in October, 1998 the Early Head Start Program opened.

In January, 1999 the Hillandale Child Development Center opened with 350 slots. In September, 1999, School Readiness opened in the Stillmeadow Elementary School.

In May, 2002 Mayor Dannel Malloy announced an agency name change to Childcare Learning Centers. Then in 2016, the name was changed to Children’s Learning Centers.

CLC’s History in Photos

On October 26, 1973, CLC broke ground on our Palmers Hill location which replaced our facility at 177 Broad Street! Here, Jeanne Ellis supervised some of the children at the groundbreaking.

Former CT Governor Dannel Malloy reading to students at CLC in 2004 when he was Mayor of Stamford!

In 2016 our students took a field trip to the Bruce Museum with our friends from Edgehill!

In 1977, children at what was then Child Care Center posed on a new treehouse built by students J.M. Wright Technical High School!

The Nursery House at 163 Greyrock Place during the 1926-1927 school year!

Potluck Supper!

1972 – 1973 school year

1935 – 1936 school year

Spring playtime outdoors in 1996!

Walking outside in 1996!

1936 – 1937 school year!

Summer 2013 at CLC

The toothbrush drill for the older kids at Stamford Day Nursery during the 1926-1927 school year!

Field trip to Stew Leonard’s!

1935-1936 school year at Stamford Day Nursery!

The babies at Stamford Day Nursery during the 1931-1932 school year enjoying gifted toys!

Students wearing dresses they made themselves during the 1931-1932 school year!

Fall of the 2021 – 2022 school year!

August 1972

1972 – 1973 school year

The children’s hard work during the Stamford Day Nursery 1931-1932 school year!


Playgroung time, 1972-1973 school year

Stamford Day Nursery Illustration, 1931-1932 school year

1972-1973 class photo


1972-1973 school year

On the playground, 1924

Parents, children & teachers, 1972-1973 school year

Lunchtime, 1996

August 1972

Naptime, 1931-1932

Woodworking, 1972-1973

Time on the playground in 1969!

CLC Champions

We are recognizing a CLC Champion each month who has helped to bring us to where we are today!

We are recognizing Marsha Shendell as our August CLC Champion!
Marsha is a longtime supporter of CLC. She says, “The children and parents who come to CLC are very special. It’s my joy and pleasure to be able to contribute to CLC’s ability to care for and educate all of these children!”

Thank you to Marsha for her years of support!

We are recognizing Julia von Schilling as our July CLC Champion!
Julia has provided invaluable volunteer support and guidance to CLC for 11 years. An attorney with her own practice in Stamford, CLC’s family service team has been able to rely on Julia for guidance on family related needs and policies.

As a nonprofit organization, CLC relies on many volunteers to make us a stronger organization and we are grateful that Julia is one of them!

We are recognizing Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro with the 2022 CLC Champion of Children Award for her unwavering and longtime dedication to children.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has long been a passionate and vocal champion for the vulnerable, with decades of advocacy on behalf of all children bringing a lasting impact in areas such as children’s education, health, and nutrition.

Currently, she serves as the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, sits on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and is Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

Thank you to Congresswoman DeLauro for her commitment to children.

That’s why we are recognizing all CLC staff members as our May CLC Champions!
The hard work and dedication each and every member of our team puts in on a daily basis is truly admirable. It’s the reason we are able to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of the children and families we serve!

Thank you to the entire CLC staff for all that you do!

Joel and Ellen Mellis have been proudly involved with CLC for the past two decades! We are thrilled to recognize them as our April CLC Champions!

Ellen serves as the Vice Chairwoman of CLC’s Board. She says,”It has grown to be the most admirable agency which serves hundreds of families. The educational and social emotional approach to learning benefits both the children and their parents as they leave CLC and enter elementary school!”
April is a favorite month at CLC for Ellen and Joel because of the Week of the Young Child and Earth Day! “I recall having the honor, along with our special friend  Dudley Williams, of judging all the children’s Earth Day recycling projects! There were some spectacular imaginative entries,” remembers Ellen.

Thank you to Joel and Ellen for their commitment to CLC!

As we continue CLC’s 120th anniversary celebration, we are recognizing March’s CLC Champion. Jennifer Lapine is a champion of early childhood education and serves as CLC Leadership Council Chairwoman Emeritus.
Through the years, Jennifer has helped shape CLC in so many ways. She was the first School Readiness liaison for Stamford and served as education liasion for Mayor Malloy. In 2002, she joined the CLC board. After serving her term, she moved onto CLC’s leadership council, assuming the chairmanship in 2014.
Jennifer helped build, create and implement the Stamford School Readiness Program and headed up the Parent Involvement Board for the School Readiness and Head Start programs. We have also been thrilled to welcome Jennifer as a volunteer. She created a sing-along with CLC children and developed an intergenerational partnership with Edgehill senior living community, CLC Palmers Hill neighbor.

Photo by: William Taufic Portraits

February’s CLC Champions are both beloved teachers who have each been with CLC for more than 40 years!
Brenda Robinson has been with CLC for 45 years and teaches at CLC Palmers Hill.
Mary Catherine Herbert has been with CLC for 42 years and teaches at CLC William Pitt.
Thank you to Brenda and Mary Catherine for your dedication to CLC and for transforming the lives of so many of our students!

January’s CLC Champion is Jane Norgren! Jane served as Executive Director of CLC for more than 20 years. During that time, she was instrumental in driving quality programming and expansion.

With so many wonderful memories of her time at CLC, Jane says she can’t possibly pick a favorite. But she says, “I always LOVED when the children performed: holidays, annual meetings, galas, etc. Swiss Bank employees once gave Palmers Hill a circus for a day, complete with animals, streamers, clowns, music and carriage rides! Even the groundbreaking for William Pitt was terrific! I also could have jumped with joy when the Board backed me in expansion and building alterations! City involvement was always prominent in these endeavors.”

Thank you Jane for your dedication to CLC!

120 Readers

CLC is excited to celebrate 120 years of caring, nurturing and educating our community’s young children!

As part of the celebration, we will host 120 readers in 2022!

There is no better way to celebrate our history and foster a love of reading than sharing a good book!

Guest Readers

Marc Jaffe, CLC CEO
Anna Witkowski, CLC Chief Education Officer
Stefanie Horn, CLC Marketing Manager
Gina Atanasoff, CLC
Lorna Peart, CLC Manager, Benefits & Human Resource Administration
Marc Teichman, CLC Director of Human Resources
Phyllis DiFrancia, Director of School Readiness at CLC
Beth Genovese, Education Manager of School Readiness Programs at CLC
Dori Walker, Instructional Coordinator
Jane Norgren, Former CLC Executive Director
Emily Kroenlein, Friend of CLC
Bob Mattis, Chairman of the CLC Board of Directors
Jennifer Hallissey, Director of Strategic Partnerships
Ernie Fleishman, CLC Board of Directors
Betty Davila, Instructional Coordinator
Ceci Maher, Leadership Council
Nicole Green, Education Coordinator at WP
Pam Geiger, Teacher Development Manager
David Martin, former Stamford Mayor
Marsha Guthrie, Head Start Director
Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons
Alice Knapp Ferguson Library, CEO
Ellen Mellis, CLC Board Member & long time friend
Cheryl Vallejo, CLC Nurse