Early Childhood Education Center Prepares for Fall Opening

The construction of the Martha Gudelsky Child Development Center is progressing as planned, and the facility is scheduled to open next fall.

Construction started last summer at the early childhood education center, which is situated at the former Silver Spring Library site on Colesville Rd. near downtown Silver Spring. Myrna Peralta, President and CEO of CentroNía, a nonprofit based in D.C. that will manage the facility, told MoCo360 that the renovations are progressing well, and are expected to finish in June.

The Martha Gudelsky Child Development Center will accommodate at least 120 children from birth to age five. The center’s Early Care Programs will cater to a minimum of 75% of participants from families eligible for free and reduced lunches under federal guidelines.

The center will have a community kitchen and workshops for parents, including cooking, job readiness, and adult education classes. It will also bring 40 new jobs, chances for local partnerships, and space for community events, according to a press release.

The Silver Spring-based nonprofit Homer and Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation, which established the early childhood center in 2016, offers additional childcare opportunities for children from mixed-income families. This addresses the increasing community need for accessible early childhood services and ensures that children can develop essential skills and attitudes for success when they transition to Montgomery County schools.

Martha Gudelsky established the foundation in 1968 to provide grants and assistance to programs that aim to improve health, education, the arts, and the community. One of the organization’s significant achievements is the Martha Gudelsky Child Development Center, which fulfills her goal to enrich the lives of children in her hometown of Silver Spring.

CentroNía is a well-known nonprofit that offers affordable, high-quality early childhood education, professional development for educators, and family support services in a bilingual and multicultural setting to more than 2,400 children and families in the D.C. area.

MoCo360 reports that the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation approached CentroNía after learning about the library’s closure, proposing the idea of partnering on a childcare center at the site.

“The house that the [Gudelsky family] children were raised in was just a couple of blocks down the street on Colesville Road and the family used the library extensively,” Peralta said to MoCo360. “And so, they felt a real attachment to the facility and had been looking for an opportunity to invest in something that the family feels strongly about. Childcare was one of those areas.”

The county’s Department of General Services released a Request for Development Proposals for the county-owned parcel at 8901 and 8907 Colesville Rd. in 2016. The County Council opted to turn the former Silver Spring Library site into an early childhood education and development center, and the Planning Board gave their approval for the facility’s preliminary plans in 2021.

The project website states that permits for the building plans were obtained this year from the county’s Department of Permitting Services in June 2022. Last year, the County Council approved a special appropriation for the planning, design, and construction of sewer capacity improvements on the county-owned property.

Once renovations are finished, the center will apply for a state license and aims to welcome families in August or September, according to MoCo360.

Photo Courtesy of CentroNía

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