Brookline staff rallies to raise awareness for Brookline School Staff Children’s Center



BSSCC teacher Liz Hofstetter and Headmaster Meyer embrace during the BSSCC rally on Jan. 16.

Yuen Ting Chow, News Editor

“If it’s possible to fall in love with a childcare center, then with BSSCC, it was love at first sight,” reads a sign in the atrium during the Brookline School Staff Children’s Center’s (BSSCC) rally.

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, a rally was held to raise awareness for BSSCC and its unique curriculum and caring environment.

BSSCC, which was first started in 1979, is an early education center for the children of Public Schools of Brookline staff and the Brookline community. BSSCC will need to relocate in June 2020, as its current location, the Baldwin School, will be used for the ninth elementary school.

According to the director of BSSCC, Jane Pinto, the rally’s goal was to get the center’s name out so more Brookline residents know about it.

“When the superintendent says, ‘We want to give some space to this program,’ people understand who we are, and hopefully they will understand that we are important to the school system,” Pinto said.

Pinto shared how BSSCC uses student-directed and experiential methods, and the staff devises activities and explorations for their students. Brookline teacher and BSSCC alumni parent Dianne Muendel believes this curriculum makes BSSCC unique.

“I love their play-based curriculum, and I love how knowledgeable the teachers were about Early Ed,” Muendel said. “Teachers have families, and their children need a place to be safe and have an excellent educational program. BSSCC has provided that over the years. So, taking it away from teachers and families is really a strike against education and a strike against supporting teachers.”

Pinto said that in the early childhood education field, there is usually a high teacher turnover rate, but it is different at BSSCC.

“The teachers’ devotion, I see it every day — the hours they put in before their shift and after their shift,” Pinto said.

Headmaster Anthony Meyer, whose two daughters attended BSSCC, said that the center was life-changing in terms of how his kids were being taken care of.

“The reports that the teachers wrote made us laugh and cry and made us feel like our kids were incredibly well-known and cared for,” Meyer said.

A bulletin board in the atrium is filled with quotes on BSSCC’s importance.

Muendel’s daughter, senior Lucy Muendel, still has fond memories of her time at BSSCC.

“I remember we had this structure called the loft, and we pretended that it was our house,” Lucy Muendel said. “I just remember it so clearly, which I think is so significant because I was three when I was there. I’m still friends with a couple of people from preschool.”

Aside from the benefits that BSSCC provides for its students, the center is beneficial for the teachers and parents involved as well. BSSCC teacher Liz Hofstetter, who has been working there since 1989, shared how BSSCC has been a place where she is encouraged and supported to keep learning as a teacher and as a person.

“This happens more formally in the well-organized and meaningful staff studies that Jane has developed for the teachers over the years,” Hofstetter said. “In less formal ways, I learn so much from observing teachers in action and sharing ideas about curriculum and children.”

BSSCC teacher Liz Hofstetter shares how BSSCC has helped her grow as a person.

Brookline teacher and BSSCC alumni parent Terry Jewell noted the parent involvement aspect of BSSCC.

“They expect parents to be involved at the school, and I think that helps us develop a close-knit community. It’s good for parents because it prepares you to be involved in the PTO at the elementary school,” Jewell said.

Pinto said that Superintendent Andrew Bott will be able to provide BSSCC with possible moving locations by May. For now, though, she wants more Brookline residents and decision makers to be aware of the center’s importance.

“As more Brookline residents understand the competitive advantage that a high-quality early childhood program offers its school system, the more likely a suitable site will be found for the BSSCC,” Pinto said.