Nestled away on Depot Road in Storrs, you'll find the Mansfield Discovery Depot.
The Discovery Depot is a state licensed and NAEYC accredited early childhood center that provides full day educational programs to children from six weeks of age to kindergarten.
Executive Director Mary Jane Newman understands that child care is one of the most important decisions a parent can make, which explains her passion for the Depot's programs and curriculum.
“The town should be so proud of themselves to even have a facility like this,” Newman said. “Certainly the children benefit but I think when times are really tough, and they’re getting tougher for families – not only financially but time – it’s such a convenience for parents and they truly do appreciate all that we do, and it’s a total package here. It’s not just children. It’s families and community," she said.
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One of the Depot's main missions is to promote healthy living.
“We have an opportunity to really play a critical role in children’s development," Newman said. "They’re here 8-10 hours a day and we’re here to really help them learn and grow. Good nutrition really serves children's energy and nourishes their whole body," she said.
In order for the Depot to advance their philosophy, it counts on funding from various sources. In addition to tuition, the Depot is a recipient of the School Readiness and Child Daycare Grant, which helps the Depot meet the educational needs of children and families.
Under the Child Daycare Grant, the Depot also participates in the Child and Adult Food Care Program (CACFP), a federal program that provides healthy foods to children and adults receiving daycare.
The Mansfield Town Council recently approved the Depot's $37,225 application to the CACFP to help fund the Depot's food service operation.
“It helps to cover the cost of food and serving supplies,” Newman said. “We truly believe that children need to be ready to learn and how they can be ready is good nutrition," she said.
“It’s a commitment to families to really have high quality food service here and to do it day in and day out,” Newman said. “We can really impact children at this level and educate parents as well as how important it really is to have high nutrition and good food. That’s what we’re about. We’re here to really support the big picture,” she said.
For more information, contact the Mansfield Discovery Depot at 860-487-0062.