Morse Insurance Community Spotlight: Westfield Child Center
Westfield Child Center is an integral part of the Brockton community, offering high-quality education, activities, and resources to young children and their families.
For this community spotlight, Morse Insurance sat down with Lisa Litcoff, executive director and president of Westfield Child Center, to find out more about this long-standing organization and its services. The Center has an interesting history that includes a transition from a for-profit preschool to the nonprofit childcare center it is today. We hope you enjoy reading about the organization and the many important programs it provides to children in our area, such as early care, before and after school enrichment, and swim lessons.
Q: Who founded the Westfield Child Center, and what was their inspiration?
A: The origin story of our center begins in 1966 with Myron Fuller, a local businessman and former publisher of The Enterprise, Brockton’s afternoon daily newspaper. His wife of many years, the late Maxine Fuller, had earned a PhD in early childhood education and dreamed of running a school, and Myron had a passion for the idea as well. Together, Myron and Maxine brought this dream to life by starting a small, half-day, for-profit preschool, originally located in a house on Ettrick Street in Brockton. In 1967, the preschool relocated to its current location, 470 Torrey Street, in Brockton, Massachusetts. The preschool was renamed Westfield, a name inspired by the property the school was built on, a spacious field in the west corner of Brockton.
In 2007, Myron founded a nonprofit, called the Fuller Arts and Sciences, Inc. d/b/a Westfield Child Center, which incorporated the original preschool but has grown to be so much more. Today, the mission of the Westfield Child Center is to develop, implement, and maintain an environment that is rich in social, emotional, creative, and academic development.
Despite the changes at the Center over the decades, Myron has remained the face of the center and he is actively involved with the organization. Now 86, he still serves on the center’s Board of Directors. Myron truly loves children and the community of Brockton, and the school has always been his passion—his baby.
Q: Who does the Westfield Child Center serve?
A: When the Westfield Preschool opened over five decades ago, there were roughly 30 students who attended, but capacity greatly increased after a 1996 expansion, which not only added classroom space, but also an enclosed pool and an indoor gymnasium with sections designed like a whimsical castle, complete with curtain walls and turrets.
Today, Westfield Child Center is licensed to serve 191 children between the ages of one month and 13 years and we have 12 different classrooms to support them. There is one classroom specifically for infants, four for toddlers, three for children in preschool and kindergarten, and three for our school-age kids who participate in our before- and after-school program.
We also serve a diverse economic population with a broad set of needs. Approximately three quarters of our children come from low-income households and qualify to attend the Center through a state voucher program. Children with income eligibility also receive free breakfast, lunch, and snacks at the Center because of our participation in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program. In addition, being part of this federal program enables us to offer parents valuable education on nutrition, including how to model healthy eating habits to their kids.
We also have a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Early Head Start program. Through this collaboration, we can provide parents of children up to three years old with free comprehensive services and support in areas such as child development, nutrition, mental health, school readiness, safety, health and wellness, dental, parent engagement, and social services, as well as access to brand-new infant and child car seats.
It’s a testament to the Center that many of our current students’ parents attended the program as children and remember it fondly. So many people in Brockton feel a strong connection to us. I can be at the bank or a store and mention the Westfield Child Center, and next thing you know someone is telling me how they attended the school or know someone who did. It’s heartwarming to hear the impact our organization has had on the community at large, and it makes our work that much more rewarding.
Q: What programs does Westfield Child Center offer?
A: We offer day care, educational and enrichment programs and opportunities, and resources for a diverse audience of children and families. Our curriculum is well-rounded and supports children with their physical, cognitive, language, and social emotional development.
We know that children who have successful experiences when they are young develop a love for learning, so we host a variety of fun activities for all age groups to participate in, from arts and crafts to playground games and free swims. As a staff, we do all we can to ensure the students have positive experiences and get excited about learning.
Our aquatics program is an extremely popular and unique option that allows us to really expand our reach. We offer swimming, lifeguarding, and water safety classes. These programs are available to our children in all classrooms in varying degrees. In addition, our families and the greater community can take advantage of these offerings. We always have a long wait list to get into our aquatics programs.
The Center also runs a summer program, consisting of eight to 10 one-week sessions for kids aged five to 13 years. These sessions provide children with something constructive and educational to do between school years and include weekly field trips for our school-aged children, daily free swims, lots of time for play in our open field or gymnasium, pancake Wednesdays, and more.
Q: Please tell us about the people who run the Center.
A: As the Executive Director, my main priority is to provide a safe and supportive atmosphere for the children, families, and staff who use our services and build a sense of belonging while respecting individuality, diversity, and uniqueness. I also oversee all operations, from supervising a team of administrators to interacting with contractors, program development, property management, and hiring new staff.
But I’m just one of many people who help keep this place running smoothly every day. We have 50 full- and part-time staff at the Center, including teachers and teaching assistants, program and childcare directors, group leaders, bus and van drivers, and lifeguards. All our teachers have completed early childhood education and training, and many have an associate or bachelor’s degree in education.
I can’t say enough about the wonderful team at Westfield Child Center. Whenever anyone needs a helping hand, so many people step up to the plate. Most importantly, everyone on the staff is dedicated to making a positive difference in children’s lives every single day.
We are also very grateful for the guidance of our nine-member board of directors, which includes founder Myron Fuller as well as parents of former students, a former childcare director, and community members and area professionals. Our board has been critical in helping us make major organizational decisions and has provided valuable advice and direction to me.
Q: Why has Westfield Child Center put their trust in Morse Insurance to meet their insurance needs?
A: About 15 years ago, we were referred to Morse by a board member. We met with Dan Morse, and we’ve never looked back, even though we frequently get approached to switch. Insuring a childcare center, especially one with a swimming pool, is very complex because we require protection on many levels, from the classroom to our vehicles and employees. Morse has been extremely thorough in getting to know our organization and its specific risks, identifying our coverage needs, and helping us find the appropriate insurance to protect us against potential accidents, injuries, and liability concerns. Most of all, we appreciate how easy they are to talk to. We really have a great partnership, and we recommend them to everyone.
Morse is grateful to Lisa Litcoff for her time and, of course, encourages you to learn more about the Westfield Child Center by visiting its website, or following the organization on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.