The Learning Center Looks Toward Expansion

The renovation of the pool area will expand The Learning Center by 30 percent, providing the opportunity for us to reach more students and families in our community while providing additional teaching jobs in an industry that was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The expansion to The Learning Center will provide 47 additional spots for early learning classrooms at Third Street Alliance, increasing the capacity to reach more students for high-quality early childhood education, as well as provide resources that are important for a child’s development and family success. Currently, our early learning program can serve upwards of 160 children.

Start Strong PA, an initiative of Early Learning PA, conducted a survey of child care centers throughout Pennsylvania and found that more than 850 providers closed permanently between March 2020 and August 2021. Currently, more than 26,000 children sit on waiting lists for child care. If these families cannot find a spot for their children, parents are often forced to stay out of the workforce which creates financial instability for most.

The Learning Center provides the opportunity to level the playing field for many families who would not otherwise be able to afford quality, early learning experiences. The center provides these opportunities for children 6-weeks old through grade 6, and includes the Infant-Toddler Contracted Slots and Pre-K Counts programs, which are income-qualified programs.

“It is important for all children to have quality learning experiences prior to kindergarten,” said Nancy Frederick, Director of The Learning Center. “The experiences that our students have in our classrooms and in the community help them develop as an individual, as well as building their character and social skills.”

According to researchers, 90 percent of brain growth happens before kindergarten and is nearly full-grown by age 5. During that time in a child’s life, early experiences affect the development of the brain, providing the foundation for future learning, behavior, and health, according to the Center on The Developing Child at Harvard University.

“Students coming from our program at The Learning Center are well prepared for kindergarten, as well as for their education career,” Nancy said.

Students learn important social skills critical for school, in addition to early literacy skills, mathematical concepts, and scientific exploration. They also learn about their neighborhood, the community and people surrounding them.

“The students in The Learning Center are encouraged to share their talents, teaching each other and their teachers,” Nancy said.

“Our families and students develop meaningful friendships that often last outside of Third Street and beyond,” Nancy continued. “When a child is enrolled in our program, they become a part of our close-knit family that learns together, plays together and thrives together.”

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