ORANGE, NJ - Community Day Nursery is celebrating 120 years of service to the Orange and East Orange community on Saturday, October 7, 2017, at the Priory Restaurant in Newark.  

The luncheon will be from 11am -3pm. Contact Kathy Burke, Executive Director, 973 673 3710 for more information.  

Tickets are still available at $75 or at the door the day of the luncheon.  

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In the early 1890’s there was a group of women in the Oranges called “The Friendly Visitors”.  They visited needy homes, doing what we today term, “volunteer social work”.  When one of the visitors happened upon a young child using a butcher’s knife to cut a younger sibling a slice of bread she reported the incident to the head of the Associated Charities. The Director, Mr. MacDougal, appointed a committee to find a room or a house and draw up plans for a Day Nursery.  

The Day Nursery of the Oranges opened in 1894 with a board of seven women and a matron who took turns making soup at home and taking it to the Nursery each day with bread and sometimes “surprises” in the way of baked apples, cookies or cake.  The mothers paid five cents a day for one child, eight cents for two, ten cents for three.

After its incorporation in 1897, Mr. Keck became interested in the Nursery.  Feeling that its quarters were inadequate, he bought the building at 60 S. Center Street, Orange and rented it for the nursery.  Mr. Keck sold the house to the nursery in 1912 at approximately half of its assessed value:  $3,600.00.  

In 1957 the East Orange Day Nursery which had been led by Director Ethel Lee Early had to be closed because it was in the path of the Garden State Parkway.  The children and staff were welcomed as members of the Day Nursery of the Oranges as the two agencies combined. 

The current site, which opened in 1961, remains an architectural model for early childhood programs.  For many years a “daycare center”, in 2001 they entered into a relationship with the East Orange Board of Education and the New Jersey Department of Human Services to provide a public preschool program with before and after school care.