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HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College has appointed Leslie Klein Pilder as the first director of its new free program, Itsy Bitsy Child Watch. Pilder started working at HCC in March.   

“With Leslie Pilder in place as the director of HCC’s Itsy Bitsy Child Watch, we are ready and eager to welcome the children of our students,” said Sheila Gould, coordinator of HCC’s Early Childhood Education program. “The policies and procedures Leslie has designed ensure that our students will know their children will be safe, loved, and have a great time while on campus. I couldn’t be happier with all the work Leslie has done to launch the program.” 

Pilder served for nine years as executive director of the Nonotuck Community School in Northampton. She has worked as director of Buds and Blossoms, a Mandarin-immersion childcare center in Boston, and as director of The Educational Alliance Preschool in Manhattan. She has also worked at New York University’s Teaching for Success program — a research project designed to improve the quality of teaching and learning in New York City’s Head Start centers. 

Pilder holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University, a master’s degree in early childhood and Montessori education from Xavier University. As a lecturer at SUNY’s Empire College, Pilder taught undergraduate and graduate students studying early childhood education and created a seminar series on adolescent rites of passage — the topic of her second master’s degree from New York University. 

HCC held a ribbon-cutting event for the Itsy Bitsy Child Watch Center on May 4. The center will officially open with the start of summer classes on May 24. 

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