It’s a challenge parents faced even before the pandemic: caring for children.
Snigdha Jain, MD, MHSInstructor in the Department of Pulmonology, Intensive Care and Sleep MedicineAnd the Her husband works as doctors and researchers. They came to Yale in July 2020 with their 2-year-old daughter, Aria – a time when many childcare centers were closed due to the novelty and uncertainties of COVID-19. Fortunately, the Phyllis Boudl Child Care Center It remained open throughout the pandemic.
Bodel is a nonprofit organization created by faculty and postdoctoral fellows at Yale University School of Medicine to provide on-site care for the children of women in medicine. It is named in honor of Dr. Phyllis Buddle, a mother of three and the first director of Women in Medicine at Yale University. The program began in 1979 with seven families. Now, 120 children from 111 families have been registered. The Bodel Program caters to children from six weeks of age through pre-kindergarten.
“There was this community that was very aware of the health risks of COVID and yet they understood the importance of staying open,” says Jen. It describes Bodel’s COVID-19 guidelines as “flexible, appropriate and practical.” While Jane was not able to tour the Poodle before placing her daughter in their care, she was relieved by the constant flow of communication.
“They made us feel really comfortable about where our baby was even though we didn’t see her,” Jane says. “…When I head into the ICU shift, as a mother and a doctor, it’s still a part of my mind with my kids. To feel so completely at peace that I don’t have to worry about my child during my workday is the biggest accomplishment a childcare center can boast of” .
Soon after enrolling her daughter in Bodel, Jain joined the COVID-19 subcommittee, which continues to engage the community in making safe decisions. In 2021, Jain joined the Bodel Corporation’s board of directors as president. “It was a great experience in this team,” says Jain. “Not all members are parents, but they were so impressed and pleased with their experience with the center that they decided to continue dedicating their time to it.”
More than just a daycare
Bodel strives to organize unique programs for each child. Activities target all areas of development: physical, social, emotional and intellectual. “Early childhood is a unique era, and I really believe the kind of environment they created enables teachers to look beyond being a day nursery,” says Jane. “They call themselves a childcare center and I think they are in the truest sense of the word, because they try to take care of the child very holistically.”
Kids do a variety of activities throughout the day, indoors and outdoors. For example, they may learn to recognize patterns, tend to a worm farm, shoot butterflies, make artwork, or write crazy wills, poems, and songs as a group.
Dennis Chung, MD, PhD, MHSAnd the Assistant Professor of Medicine (Gastroenterology) and Stephanie Ng, MDpracticing psychiatristAnd the He took their two children to Boudl. While Shung and Ng are working, their children enjoy singing and dancing. “They have fun there, and they bring that fun home,” says Chung. “Our house is decorated with gills with all the artwork they made. This kind of thing is very precious to us.”
Chung Wong appreciates that Poodles strive for siblings to have the same teachers. The student-teacher ratio is 3:1 for infants and toddlers and 5:1 for children aged three to five. “The teachers are great,” Chung says. “They really care about not just watching the kids and making sure they don’t get messy, but focusing on them and giving them a rich and interactive environment in which they can grow.”
“Our kids loved every semester they were in,” she says. Patricia Peter, MDAnd the Assistant Professor of Endocrinology. She and her husband Henry Park, MD, MPHAnd the Assistant Professor of Clinical RadiologyAnd the They put each of their babies in a three-month-old poodle. “Their love for their teachers and classmates has always been very clear.”
Peter and Park have been thrilled with their children’s development since they started at Bodel. “They often try to teach us how to raise children by explaining how their teachers deal with difficult situations,” Park says. Peter laughed. After graduating from Bodel, their eldest child told them, “When I have a child, I want to take them to Phyllis Bodel.”
Comfortable Child Care at Yale University
Besides providing exceptional childcare, Bodel has two main features that set it apart: location and hours. Phyllis Poddle Child Care Center is located within the campus of Yale University School of Medicine at 367 Cedar Street, open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“This childcare center is the reason I was able to be successful in my career,” Chung says, citing the easy checkout process, location close to work, and good working hours. “You usually have to choose between a family or a job, but with Bodel you can juggle the two.”
Park and Peter also agree that Bodel’s support has been crucial. “It feels like a major aspect of the university’s mission to support young faculty and staff who have young children through this process that is already very challenging in nature,” Park says. “Accessible child care is so essential to diversity, well-being, and retention of health care providers and biomedical researchers at Yale.”
Bodel strives to be financially accessible as well. The center is funded primarily through tuition fees but is seeking grants for additional support. For single parents, postdocs, or those in dire need of financial assistance, Bodel offers scholarships to support tuition fees. Currently, 10 scholarships are awarded annually, but they are working to increase that number.
Additional reporting by Melanie Luna