On January 5, 1976, the Knoxville Early Child Development Center, Inc. opened to serve 55 children, ranging in age from 2 months to 3 years. Second Presbyterian Church assisted by providing an excellent facility for the center site. The Tennessee Valley Authority and Knox Children’s Foundation provided start-up costs for the purchase of equipment, supplies, and building renovations required to meet licensing standards.
Through our history, The Children’s Center has maintained the same philosophy. The Children’s Center of Knoxville, Inc. believes that each child is each child is unique and worthy of the special attention needed to develop to his or her maximum potential. To that end, our program is planned to help each child build upon his or her strengths and to enhance the child’s opportunities for growth where needed. Social skills, emotional health, self-development, and education are all considered areas of importance to be given attention at these young age levels. The Center recognizes that parents are the child’s primary caregivers and recognizes the importance of working closely with families, planning together with them, and keeping communication channels constantly open.
The Appalachian Regional Commission agreed to provide additional match money through a decreasing five-year grant, which expired in 1981. The United Way also made some monies available to supplement the fees paid by families not eligible for Title XX finding, but whose incomes were such that they could not afford to pay full cost of care. Through the generosity of Second Presbyterian Church, donated space also supported the agency’s sliding fee scale.
In 1982, the name was changed to The Children’s Center of Knoxville, Inc. Throughout the years, the number of children the center is licensed to accommodate has increased in order to meet the demands of the community.
The Center is currently licensed for 120 children ranging in age from six weeks through five years. (The current roll allows for 106 children, as one classroom has been closed down to make a rainy day play area when the children cannot play outside.) Nine classrooms staffed by a lead teacher and assistant teacher ensure individualized attention and a program that provides developmentally appropriate activities.
In October 1994, with assistance from the Tennessee Valley Authority, United Way and other charitable donations, the center bought the property located at 301 Frank Street, and constructed a new 7500 square-foot facility. The new location is located on the Knoxville Area Transit bus line, and is conveniently located near the University of Tennessee and the downtown area, with east access from all major highways.
Currently, 50% of all children served are from low-income families. Thirty children are able to attend CCK with a CAC certificate from the Department of Human Services, and twenty children are able to attend with a private scholarship from the United Way and The Children’s Center of Knoxville, Inc.