The National Coalition for Educational and Cultural Programs was founded in 1991 by an
Early Childhood Education college instructor as a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of care for children. Much like today, this was a time of fiscal decline as well as cutbacks to educational programs and the NCECP sought to offer affordable, quality programs focusing on early childhood topics to daycare providers, educators and families. The NCECP became and remains the second agency in the state to be approved by the Department of Early Education and Care as an early childhood Continuing Education Unit (CEU) authorizing agency.

Stone Zoo logo

In the early 90s, the NCECP formed a number of partnerships with other area groups to
extend its outreach into the community. One of these partnerships was formed with the Friends of Stone Zoo in Stoneham, MA. Together, these two groups were successful in creating the means for opening the Education Resource Center, the first handicap-accessible building at the Stone Zoo.

NCECP also developed the popular “Kid Sense Parent/Teacher Training” series in collaboration with the Boston Medical Center. This continued until the hospital was closed in 1999.

The mid-90s saw NCECP recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Education as a Professional Development Provider for state certified teachers. In response, NCECP increased development of early childhood workshops and cultural programs, which were delivered both to the general public as well as onsite to area daycare centers and schools.

NCECP endorsed by MA Department of Education

This was also the time when NCECP opened the first Creativity Recycle Center (CRC) in a re-purposed church to provide clean, recycled materials for use in classrooms, youth-related programs, or in the home. At the height of its service to the community, NCECP served over 1,000 visitors at its subsequent location at 38 Montvale Avenue in Stoneham, MA. During this time, we offered onsite trainings for teachers, as well as field trips for children.

By 1997, NCECP’s had created its initial Distance Education program, which featured courses developed by college instructors. During this same period, through Massachusetts Cultural Council Grants, NCECP also offered a Kids Art series, devoted to developing young artists, musicians, poets and writers, and hosted an annual wildlife art exhibit.

Due to the success of CRC, NCECP opened a second recycle for education site at the Stoneham Middle School, Stoneham, MA, to meet the needs of all the teachers and students for a school district over wrought with expenses and to meet the needs of the growing population. This recycle center was stocked and staffed by NCECP volunteers from 1999-2003, at which point it closed due to a space shortage in the Stoneham public school. Additionally, the NCECP brought together other reuse for education programs, which led to the formation of the “Reduce Reuse Recycle Alliance (RRRA)”. Organizations from Vermont to Rhode Island have joined in the efforts with the NCECP to save surplus and odd lot materials from landfills.

The year 2000 saw the NCECP initiating the “Major, the Polar Bear” Scholarship. The scholarship was set up in memory of Major, the beloved Polar Bear of Stone Zoo who lived to be 33 years old, the oldest bear in captivity. The first annual scholarship was awarded in 2001 to a deserving high school student committed to continuing his education in the area of animal husbandry/environmental sciences.

Major Scholarship by NCECP

In 2003, the NCECP continued our history of partnering with other groups when we worked
with the authors of Read it Aloud! to develop a distance education course on performance
reading. The course was endorsed by the New England High Tech Charity Foundation, which awarded a grant to provide the training to childcare workers serving needy children and their families.

Today, the NCECP continues to serve early childhood educators with its expanded Distance Education program, which provides them with affordable self-paced courses that allow them to earn CEUs through home study with instructor support. These courses are especially popular with teachers in isolated communities who may not have easy access to courses that relate to the early childhood field.

We have also expanded our scholarship program offering scholarships to high school seniors seeking careers in education, environmental science or animal husbandry. (For more information, see our “Scholarships and Grants” section.)

In keeping with our mission to improve the quality of care for all children, the NCECP is continually seeking ways to improve and expand its services and programs – let us know how we can help you by contacting us today.