You are always welcome in your child's room to observe, to visit or to aid out! The Drop-In Center started as a parent cooperative in the early seventies. Offering child care by the hour, the Center offered a service that was unavailable anywhere else in the community.

Contact Details

  City Ithaca, NY
  Zip Code 14850
  Address 506 First Street
  Phone Number (607) 272-7117

From Our Website

The Downtown Ithaca Children's Center (DICC) provides innovative, affordable child-care for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, plus after-school and summer-camp programs for school-age children throughout Tompkins County, on a full time or drop-in basis. With a whole-child approach, warm staff, pioneering educational curriculum, supportive environment, and healthful, freshly prepared food, DICC provides a diverse community where children are happy, healthy, and prepared to enter their next educational setting.

The Downtown Ithaca Children's Center has a decades long connection to the city of Ithaca and surrounding communities. Originally established in the early 1970s as the Drop-In Children's Center, the facility initially operated as a parent cooperative, offering childcare services "by the hour." This approach provided a unique and necessary service to members of the community. The Center quickly evolved into a more traditional not-for-profit daycare facility with paid full-time staff. However, the Center maintained its cooperative spirit through the constant presence of parents who continued to volunteer and served on its Board.

This program offers full day childcare during the summer and occasionally lines up to cover some school vacation and/or conference days. Activities are designed to support creative arts and academic success. Children are encouraged to find appropriate interactive skills with their circle of friends, and to express their needs, as well as building good conflict resolution skills. The Center provides a healthy snack every day. Breakfast and lunch are provided for full day childcare. Students joining the program from the Ithaca City School District are able to take the bus to the Center where they are safely greeted by DICC staff.

This program offers a really fun approach to the end of the child's day, for those who've been in school all day already, but who are still coming to us to play and learn with friends! There is ample time for semi-structured activity, with a planned circle time each day, sharing about their day, including what went well and learning about how to skillfully approach challenging life situations. There are daily art and dramatic play activities set up for exploration, and friendships are beautifully fostered.

The focus over the last few years has shifted from drop-in childcare to full day program with trained early childhood providers. On-going staff training opportunities allow teachers to stay current with best practices in the field of early childhood. The program is strength-based, to allow the gifts of each child to become the building blocks in all areas of development. The teachers at the Downtown Ithaca Children's Center respect the value of creating a loving, diverse, educational, and inviting environment for your children that is intricately woven into the downtown Ithaca community.

The classrooms that provide care for your preschooler at Downtown Ithaca Children's Center offer many opportunities for children to gain skills in creative play and problem-solving, circle times that explore multi-cultural cognitive concepts, fine and gross motor skill development, independence and conflict resolution, and social skills that will carry them successfully into their next educational experience. There is a nice balance of outside and inside activity, and structured and free choice activity.