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Gateway National Recreation Area
Highlands, NJ, 07732
United States

(732) 291-2368

A fully-licensed nonprofit child care and preschool located in the Fort Hancock Historic Landmark District of Sandy Hook, New Jersey.



The Sandy Hook Child Care Center and Preschool is a fully-licensed, parent-run, nonprofit child care center and preschool located in the Fort Hancock Historic Landmark District of Sandy Hook, New Jersey.  Thanks to the center's unique location, our environment is our curriculum. Sandy Hook literally provides us with nature at our doorstep – and our exceptional programs focus on teaching children to respect and love the world around them.  Founded in 1980 as a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Center has been in operation for over 35 years and remains committed to providing flexible and affordable child care to local families in a loving and intimate environment.

We are currently enrolling for both our Child Care and Preschool programs, which have received a five-star rating from  Please contact us for more information.


"I will and do continue to tell anyone I can about Sandy Hook Child Care Center. I have such fond memories there - it was such a warm and welcoming place that I was able to leave my baby there on his own for the first time as a new mom. No greater statement of support than that."  Heather, 2013

"It brought tears to my eyes to see first-hand how kind and loving the teachers are.  Witnessing that moment, made Noah and I realize that we 1000% made the right decision about SHCCC!"  Lauren, 2014

"Sandy Hook Child Care Center is a warm, happy environment where my children received lots of personal attention and were treated with respect. I always dropped them off with full confidence that they would have fun, learn new things, and be safe and well cared for." Regina, 2015

"Thank you and all the teachers at SHCCC for taking such great care of Emmi. We fell in love with the school from the very beginning. Emmi has grown in so many ways while being there and we appreciate everyone having a hand in her growth." Michelle, April 2015

"We had such a wonderful experience sending our 1st child, Delilah, to SHCCC for her early years.  Sadly,w e moved away, and we never found another day care that made us feel as confident that our child was being taken care of exactly the way we would take care of her.  Fast forward 6 years… when we welcomed our second daughter, Ophelia, into our family, I knew we had to find a way to have her attend SHCCC.  A big decision in moving back to Monmouth County was the fact that we knew such an excellent program and caring people were at SHCCC, and that while we work, our newest baby would be nurtured and coddled the same way we care for her.  We couldn’t be happier to have returned - the amount of time they spend in the fresh air, the programs, the community - it’s the best little day care on earth.  While there’s no place like home… Sandy Hook Child Care Center comes pretty darn close." The Carolans, November 2016

"We moved to New Jersey with our first child and not a lot of local support.  After hearing mixed reviews about a lot of places, we kept hearing the same glowing reviews about Sandy Hook Child Care Center.  After some online research, my fiance and I decided to check it out.  The first thing you see is the incredible setting that surrounds the school. The kids are in a park that has exploration and learning capacities that you can not find anywhere else - everything from marine life to botany is at their fingertips! We loved the emphasis on outdoor time and the sincere caring attitude of the staff.  The smaller size allows our son to get so much attention, and he comes home from each day spent there happy and visibly tired from an active day.  He loves telling us about the hands-on activities and adventures he shares with his new friends, and we get a chance for more insight and to talk further about his day through the hand-out outlining his time there that is thoughtfully provided by the staff each night. The parent-run board allows us to have input into so many aspects of the school and at the same time has allowed us to feel like our family is really part of this little community.  We really feel like like Sandy Hook Child Care is a real hidden gem and we are so lucky to have discovered it! I can't thank them enough for giving us the support we needed and the comfort of knowing our son is happy and learning in a safe and caring environment!" Janet, November 2016


Child Care Program

Child Care Program

Child Care
Up to 2 1/2 years

Through our child care program, we provide a safe and nurturing "home away from home" where infants can explore and make new discoveries every day. Young children learn through play, and our day care program is designed to provide infants with the skills that serve as building blocks for a lifetime of learning. Each day is filled with fun activities that excite and help toddlers develop in ways that give them the comfort and confidence to grow and develop both cognitively and socially. 

Preschool Program

Preschool Program

2 1/2 to 5 years

As toddlers begin to express their independence, our preschool program introduces them to a world of learning, sharing, and exploring. Our program engages young minds with the early learning fundamentals they'll need as they continue their education, with a rich blend of music, art, and dramatic play. As preschoolers gain more self-esteem, our preschool program enhances that confidence by providing activities to help children become problem solvers and develop a love of lifelong learning.



Sandy Hook Child Care Center and Preschool has a unique approach to caring for and educating our children. Our curriculum has a strong emphasis on loving ourselves, our peers and our Earth and environment, and our teachers work as role models helping to reinforce these concepts each day.

Children at Sandy Hook Child Care Center are taught at a very young age the importance of respect for themselves and others. Teachers always use polite words when speaking to the children, as well as each other, giving the children the appropriate behavior to model themselves after. Manners are always developed through positive reinforcement, where children are praised for using their “nice words”. The children are also taught to be considerate of one another. The teachers offer explanations of why certain behavior is not allowed, and how that behavior would affect the other children or themselves, thus creating a greater understanding of their own actions as well as their peers actions.

Positive relationships are also a main emphasis - we strive to teach the children the skills to communicate effectively with each other and the benefits of being able to work together as a team.  Always trying to lead by example, the teachers encourage the children to be sensitive to each others needs and be helpful and caring towards one another. 

We also emphasize the importance of a child’s sense of security and independence.  Children are taught a very young age the skills that will help them grow to be independent and confident individuals.  Even the simplest of tasks such as cleaning their place at lunch time, blowing their own noses, or being able to put on their coat by themselves can give a young child a great sense of accomplishment and pride in their abilities.  Children are also encouraged to play independently, exploring activities that they enjoy, teaching them the ability to self entertain.

Children are also taught the importance of caring for and loving our environment.  Through multiple activities throughout the day teachers are able to teach our children the fundamentals of caring for our Earth. These activities include teaching children how to recycle, encouraging healthy eating habits, taking the children on nature walks, gardening, reusing materials, and most importantly allowing the children plenty of outdoor free play time to explore the wonders of our environment all on their own. 

Lastly, the most important thing we do for our children at Sandy Hook Child Care Center is love them, unconditionally.  We encourage them to be themselves and never discourage creative behaviors.  We help foster a sense of comfort, security, and confidence in each child, making our little school truly feel like a second home.