Kids First! Awards GHS $30,000 for Early Learning Program Tuition Assistance


GHS lower school head Beth Knight accepts a $30,000 donation from Kids First! president Bruce Claflin.

Kids First!, a VI based non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting education on St. John, has awarded Gifft Hill School $30,000 to provide need-based tuition assistance for students attending their early learning program.

This grant is the largest ever made by Kids First! and is the group’s third major gift to GHS’ early learning program. This gift was structured so as to qualify for a matching gift offered by a generous island resident, so that a total of $60,000 will be awarded to GHS.

“Children are born ready to learn,” said Bruce Claflin, President of Kids First! “By the time they are two to three years old they can thrive if given the experience of a quality pre-school program. Since VI public schools are not funded to provide that experience, participating children must attend a private school.”

“The cost of attending however is beyond the reach of most families,” said Claflin. “Our grant to GHS will allow more children to attend a quality pre-school program than would otherwise be the case.”

The school’s celebrated Early Learning Center follows the Creative Curriculum which balances child-initiated and teacher-directed activities while emphasizing responsiveness to children’s strengths, interests, learning styles and needs.

With a low teacher-student ratio (one to eight or better), students move through educational centers that promote active learning and progress in all developmental areas.

“Early childhood is the most important period in a person’s life for the development of intelligence, personality and social behavior,” said GHS Headmaster Judy Chamberlain. “The foundation established between birth and age 8 is crucial, and Kids First’s support of our ELC enables Gifft Hill School to provide more children access to our wonderful school community and resources.”

Kids First!, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation is dedicated to ensuring all the children of St. John have a quality learning experience in a safe and nurturing environment. Kids First! focuses on early learning programs in the school, home, and community. To learn more about Kids First! check out