Bright Futures Early Learning Center is an affiliate of the Mason Wright Foundation, which also operates Mason Wright Senior Living and Colony Care at Home. We are located in the Mason Wright Senior Living building at 74 Walnut Street in Springfield.
Childcare has been a located within Mason Wright since 1999. Childcare became an official part of the Mason Wright family in 2017, when we formed Bright Futures. Here, the children and Mason Wright residents participate together regularly in activities, providing an extra and very special way for the different generations to interact, learn and grow together.
Cathy Karowski, Director
Cathy has over twenty eight years of experience working with children. She earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Education from Westfield State College in 1993 with a minor in Science. Her experience ranges from teaching in the public school system to Directing Early Childhood Programs and establishing her own group childcare center. Cathy has worked with children of all ages, and was even a Girl Scout troop leader for eight years.
We asked Cathy to share a little of her philosophy, and here’s what she said. “Early childhood is such an important time in a child’s life. This is when children learn about themselves and their world and form a base of their personality and character. Learning at this age needs to be hands on and experiential because children learn through play. It needs to be fun and meaningful, and should foster a love for learning. The social emotional skills that children learn in early childhood last them their lifetime so it’s our job as educators to support them as best we can.”
Cathy works with staff to plan curriculum that is developmentally appropriate for their ages. She ensures that the curriculum is balanced giving children experiences in language, literacy, physical skills, and STEAM. (Science, technology, engineering, arts, math). The goal is for children leave Bright Futures Early Learning Center prepared for their elementary education years by having a solid educational base and good social emotional skills.
Deb Stasiowski, Assistant Director
Deb has been with the childcare programs at Mason Wright since 2012, having transitioned to Bright Futures in January, 2018, after five years as Director for Arbors Kids. In all, Deb has more than fifteen years experience as an early childhood education teacher and administrator.
We asked Deb to share a little of her philosophy, and here’s what she said: “We love for family members to call, email or visit us to share their suggestions—whether those suggestions are specific to their child or general towards making Bright Futures the best educational experience possible. We pride ourselves in open communications between families, teachers and staff.”
Alan T. Popp, MS
President & CEO
Mason Wright Foundation & Affiliates
Alan has served as President & CEO of Mason Wright Foundation since the position was created in 1998. In that position, he also serves as President of the Foundation’s affiliates: Bright Futures Early Learning Center, Mason Wright Senior Living and Colony Care at Home.
Alan describes the Foundation this way: “The primary role of the Foundation is to ensure that all of our affiliates have the financial resources required to provide the highest quality programs and facilities for those we serve. For example, for Bright Futures we purchased computers for every classroom and spent tens of thousands of dollars for renovations and classroom supplies. And, in 2018 we spent nearly $100,000 to upgrade the playground with Astroturf, rubber matting and brand new playground equipment. We continue to spend what is need to keep our children safe and happy, as well as to enhance their early education experience.”