Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center - A Program of Capital City Community Center

Our Programs

Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center

Capital City’s Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center is located at 25 Danforth Street in the heart of Providence’s Smith Hill neighborhood. The center is state licensed and has been rated as a “5 Star” program by BrightStars, a national assessment system that rates the quality of child care programs and provides important information to parents who are making choices regarding child care for their children.  The center operates from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and serves children ages three through five years who represent our racially and culturally diverse community.  Financial assistance is available to low-income working families struggling with rising child care costs.

Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center participates in the Rhode Island Department of Human Services’ KIDS CONNECT program that provides specialized services at licensed childcare centers that can help children with special needs participate, play and learn, along with their typically-developing peers. Licensed childcare centers and after-school care programs contract with the State to provide this service. Learn more about KIDS CONNECT.

SHECLC has committed to improving its teaching practices so that the children and families will have access to a high quality education program that values the family and treats each child as an individual learner.  Here are a few highlights of our accomplishments.

  • In 2012, the program was selected by the state of Rhode Island to be showcased to federal education leaders visiting Providence.
  • In May 2013, SHECLC was awarded one of 5 early childhood 3-year grants from United Way RI to improve the quality of early childhood through a rigorous and continuous child assessment process, leading to improved teaching practices in literacy and social/emotional development.

  • In June 2013 the Rhode Island Department of Education awarded SHECLC a “Race to the Top” Quality Improvement Grant of for curriculum materials to improve and enhance the quality of educational experiences for the children.

  • In July 2013, the Rhode Island Department of Education awarded SHECLC a 3-year contract to set up and run one of the state’s 13 Pre-Kindergarten programs.  Eighteen student slots are available each year through an open lottery which takes place in the summer. More information about Rhode Island's Pre-K programs ( »
  • SHECLC now has 5 state-certified Pre-Kindergarten classrooms.

Here are a few of SHECLC’s Guiding Principles:

  • Children are active learners.  They learn best from direct and personal exploration of their environment, through curiosity and discovery, trial and error, and modeling of the adults in their world.
  • A young child’s emotional regulation and social development are crucial to their ability to (a) develop curiosity, self-direction, and persistence in learning situations, (b) cooperate, demonstrate caring, and resolve conflict with peers, and (c) experience motivations from feeling competent and loved.
  • Families are the child’s first teacher; family engagement in their children’s learning is of highest priority; cultural values and traditions of the family are taught and celebrated.
  • Well-prepared professional staff, sensitive to the strengths and needs of all children, are crucial to the successful outcomes.

For more information about the Smith Hill Early Childhood Learning Center, please contact Director Deborah Durant @ 401-455-3890 or email