New Housing for Early Childhood Educators

New Housing for Early Childhood Educators

The 2023 Jim Vlock First Year Building Project debuted in New Haven on Friday, October 13, to an audience of YSoA students and faculty, as well as early childhood educators and community members affiliated with Friends Center for Children, the new client. Remarks were delivered by Dean Deborah Berke, New Haven mayor Justin Elicker (MBA ’10, MEM ’10), Connecticut State senator Martin Looney, and the executive director of Friends Center for Children, Allyx Schiavone.

This is the first in a series of collaborations with Friends Center for Children to provide housing for its early childhood educators. The first of four structures intended for the site, it will house two teachers and their families. Each family will have two bedrooms and a living room, along with a shared kitchen and teaching space. This new model is an important innovation for early childhood education in the context of rising costs that are making housing increasingly out of reach for many in the field. With this intervention, teachers will be able to live in the neighborhoods they serve.

The new model has been attracting a lot of attention throughout the construction process. Senator Chris Murphy stopped by the site this summer to learn more about the effort. Since March the Yale Office of Public Affairs and Communications has been filming a documentary about the project targeted to a broad audience of Yale alumni and beyond. Local media have taken an interest as well: scenes from the construction site have been featured on local broadcast channels, and the CT Mirror featured the house in its “Best of 2023.”

The 2024 project has already kicked off, and students have been tasked with designing the second house for the site. This year the design process is proceeding a little bit differently than before. The Building Project director, Adam Hopfner, is leading first-year students in the initial team design process from the beginning of the semester, as part of the second core design studio, whereas in previous years the Building Project was taught as a separate, parallel course. The design scheme will be chosen in a review on February 21 and then refined during the second half of the semester while students work on other studio projects.

Photographs by Tong Hsu and Brandon Lim.