Silver Spring Early Childhood Education Center Waitlist Exceeds 1,500

The Washington Post reports that over 1,500 families have joined the waitlist for the upcoming Martha Gudelsky Child Development Center.

The new childcare facility, located at the former Silver Spring Library site near downtown Silver Spring, is expected to open in the summer or early fall and will be able to accommodate 127 families.

Construction at the facility commenced last summer. Myrna Peralta, President and CEO of CentroNía, a nonprofit based in D.C. set to manage the facility, told MoCo360 last December that the renovations are progressing well and are slated for completion in June.

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

The center will feature a community kitchen, parent workshops including cooking, job readiness, and adult education classes. Additionally, it will create 40 new jobs, foster local partnerships, and provide 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 added childcare opportunities for children from mixed-income families. This addresses the growing community’s need for accessible early childhood services and ensures children can develop essential skills and attitudes for success when transitioning to Montgomery County schools.

Martha Gudelsky founded the foundation in 1968 to offer grants and aid to programs enhancing health, education, the arts, and the community. A notable achievement of the organization is the Martha Gudelsky Child Development Center, realizing her vision to enrich the lives of children in her hometown of Silver Spring.

CentroNía, a well-known nonprofit, provides affordable, high-quality early childhood education, educator professional development, and family support services in a bilingual and multicultural environment to over 2,400 children and families in the D.C. area.

MoCo360 reported last year that the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation approached CentroNía upon learning about the library’s closure, proposing a partnership for 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 issued a Request for Development Proposals for the county-owned parcel at 8901 and 8907 Colesville Rd. in 2016. The County Council decided to transform the former Silver Spring Library site into an early childhood education and development center, with the Planning Board approving the facility’s preliminary plans (PDF) in 2021.

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

Following the completion of renovations, the center will seek a state license and aims to welcome families in August or September, as reported by MoCo360 in December.

Rendering Courtesy of CentroNía

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