Getting to Know the Neighborhood Child Care Center

Right in the heart of downtown is an award-winning preschool and daycare center with a unique approach to educating children. Neighborhood Child Care Center, lovingly nicknamed NC3, is run by Mary and Todd Greenbaum, two of the most passionate, creative children”s educators I have ever met. (You can read my opinion on what qualifies as a great program here.) They opened Neighborhood Child Care Center thirty-eight years ago in Pontiac and have spent the last twenty-eight years operating out of Rochester.

circle time nc3NC3 educates children on how to give back to the community through food drives and community service. Every Christmas season, you”ll find the families and team of NC3 educators ringing the bell to raise funds for Salvation Army. Visiting with older generations at Waltonwood Senior Center is part of the normal routine as is a visit to the Humane Society. The children are constantly being encouraged to see some of the more vulnerable parts of our community and figuring out to help and encourage; ultimately how to give back. To me, this is truly touching and reveals just how much Mary and Todd care about our town.

In a society that is losing touch with creativity and problem solving, NC3 is a blast of fresh air. Your child won”t be sitting at a desk practicing writing, but will be learning how to write those numbers through activities like measuring objects outside such as trees and then writing those numbers down. The teachers at NC3 take a much more creative, active approach to educating a young child. Each day is fun and different.

Unlike most other daycare owners or directors, the Greenbaum”s are fully involved in the daily activities of their school. Todd is a wonderful story-teller and knows how to get the kids excited about learning by playing instruments, singing songs and doing magic tricks. You”ll often find Mary offering support to the other teachers, doing art projects with the children and taking the groups on field trips. The teaching staff is as kind-hearted and creative as you”d ever hope to find in early childhood educators.

The school is set up as a series of classrooms, with each classroom not belonging to an individual teacher but to the activity that will take place.  The children are split up into 4 different groups and then spend their day rotating through the classrooms. They have a drama room, art room, jungle gym room and science & library room. This is genius because a child is much more likely to get engrossed in a project or activity when there are less distractions. The preschool as a whole has one theme and then activities in each classroom support educating the children on that topic.

Another perk to the different classrooms is that because one room is designated for gross motor activities, the children get a chance to be active even during the cold winter months when outdoor play just isn”t possible. But don”t worry, the kids are still learning while running, jumping, skipping and playing games with simple rules. Each activity is related back to the main theme of the week or month and that includes activities in the jungle gym too.

This is a mixed age group of children so younger kids learn from older kids. It teaches the older kids how to lead and to have patience. The other advantage to a mixed age group is siblings who are in full-time care get to spend their day together, if they want.

The Neighborhood Child Care Center is the perfect choice to providing your child with a creative, unique early education experience. Full daycare is also available as well as transportation to local elementary schools.


About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at

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