Education begins at birth.  High quality center-based programs have been shown to result in positive child outcomes including improved academic achievement, lower special education placements and lower rates of grade retention. The Howard Levine Child Development Center at Renaissance West, will include the following elements:

*Highly skilled teachers, with child care credentials or higher education degrees
*Small class size
*High adult-to-child ratios
*Age-appropriate, research-based curriculum
*Language-rich environment
*Warm, responsive interactions between staff and children
*High and consistent levels of child participation
*Staff Diversity
*Family Support/Family involvement programs
*NC State School of Design, Natural Learning Initiative, has provided inspiration for an outdoor play area called a “Natural Learning Environment”
*Professional Development and training opportunities in a space called, “The Cato Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Education”
*Partnership opportunities with higher education to allow students to use our observation rooms for research

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte will be the operators of the programs at the HLCDC and has experience providing high quality youth programs nationally.  Nikki Hildebrand has been named the HLCDC Executive Director.