History of the CDC
Carol Chidsey, a Pinedale local, started the Children's Discovery Center in 1997 as an in-home, non-profit preschool with a focus of 'learning through play'. Her previous experience working at the Pinedale Preschool and the Children's Learning Center, as well as her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Special Education, gave her the training needed and desire to establish her own, unique preschool.
She began with 12 students total, ages 2 - 8, with half-day and full-day options, as well as an after-school program. Carol saw the need to help out our Pinedale families, as well as offer an important early childhood education. In 2000, Carol and her preschoolers moved into what is still the current location of the CDC, 454 East Hennick St. With the help of donors, specifically Gayle McMurry Kinnison, the Weezie Foundation, the Ruth & Vernon Taylor Foundation (Sally Swift), and Encana, the CDC was able to grow. Carol chose the location for the CDC specifically because it is located near the Sublette Center, the local retirement community, and away from the hustle and bustle of Pine Street. Carol observed the relationship between her daughter and her grandparents as something magical, and thought the residents at the Sublette Center would benefit from preschool relationships as well. A beautiful, intergenerational program was created and has since become a favorite amongst children, residents of the Sublette Center, and our community. Another great program she introduced from the beginning was the Wyoming CACFP (Child and Adult Care Food Program), which allows preschoolers to receive healthy meals free-of-charge, something parents particularly appreciated. This program now grants 20,000+ meals to children year-round!
In 2012, our Outdoor Classroom changed into what it is today. With the majority of funds coming from Encana, our preschool gained a unique Outdoor Classroom with the assistance of the Nature Explore Organization. Currently, the CDC is 1 of 3 certified Outdoor Classrooms in the State of Wyoming, among 400+ in the nation.
The CDC has indeed grown over the years. There are now 3 age groups: 2-3, 3-4 and 4-5, with a total of 30 students in the school on a daily basis, and a waiting list for future students. The same philosophy remains: to instill a joy for learning and to provide quality and affordable preschool programs for our Sublette County families. Although the CDC has eliminated its after school program, and the half-day option, we still continue to visit the residents at the Sublette Center on a weekly basis and remain open year-round to children ages 2-5. The CDC has 3 full-time Teachers, 1 Assistant Teacher, 1 Head Cook, and an Executive Director.
The CDC, local families and the community want to thank Carol Chidsey for her efforts to establish and grow the CDC, allowing the CDC to become a leader in early childhood education.
The Children’s Discovery Center (CDC) provides a quality, early childhood preschool education, and childcare program with a focus on the environment. Our mission is to maintain a safe, healthy, creative, and nurturing environment to address the developmental and educational needs of children, while providing daily learning and engagement inside and outside of the classroom in the natural world.
Philosophy & Goals
The staff of the CDC believes children learn best by doing, creating, and exploring. Developing an interest and joy in active learning is our center’s goal. Children see play as merely fun, but we view it as a crucial tool in the child’s development. We guide these needs by providing an age-appropriate program in which we work with the specific needs of individual children in the areas of:
Fine and Gross Motor Skills
At the CDC, we see the individual child as having the right to quality education and respect the child as a co-constructor of their learning process. This means the children’s interests and their innate curiosity help choreograph our curriculum. We encourage the children’s exploration of their environment as natural researchers and their need to be interactive learners. This form of education is supported through hands-on activities, art programs and learning centers that engages the children’s explorative learning. The focus is on the process of learning and not just the end result or product.
As a licensed childcare facility, the CDC strictly adheres to the Wyoming Child Care Licensing Rules.