Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center has a long history of service to the children and families of East Hampton, providing quality learning experiences in the critical early childhood years.
The Center was established in 1969 on Cedar Street in East Hampton by the East Hampton Organization for Community Action to provide child care services for working families in our community.
Our mission has never changed, but has expanded to include a focus on an early learning curriculum that incorporates learning activities — based on educational research and state standards, and presented by qualified teachers — with support services and programs for parents and families.
In 1995, a residence donated by the Marden family became the Center’s home at our present address at 2 Gingerbread Lane Extension in the Village of East Hampton.
At about the same time, a $500,000 donation was made to the Center by Dr. Willet F. Whitmore in memory of Betsy Cromartie Whitmore, which kicked off a capital campaign to construct the present building. The Center was designed with the needs of young children and a learning community in mind.
In 1996, the Center changed its name to the East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, and received a New York State license to provide services for 120 children. We signed our first contract with the East Hampton Union Free School District to provide its prekindergarten program, which is still ongoing, and, in addition to graduating our first Pre-K class, initiated our program for toddlers.
In 2000, the Center received a New York State After School Advantage Grant for $300,000 for Project MOST. That after-school program, which is key for numerous working parents, now operates independently.
After another capital campaign, the Center added a new playground in 2012.
On October 5, 2013, the Center was renamed the Eleanor Whitmore Early Childhood Center in honor of founding member and steadfast supporter Eleanor Whitmore.
Today, as the only not-for-profit educational organization providing full-day, year-round programs for children in East Hampton, we remain committed to giving our students a strong start, and are constantly pursuing new avenues to improve and expand our programs and our ability to best serve the young children of our community.