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Early Connections Annual Report 2016-2017

Program Highlights

Program Highlights 2016-2017 While we have several community initiatives that are vital to the well-being of early care and education not only at Early Connections but in Erie County and NW PA in particular, our direct service to children and their families is our highest priority. We honor the trust families have placed in us by providing the best programs and support services we can deliver. Early Connections child care centers: are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and functions under the regulations mandated by the State of Pennsylvania. serve approximately 300 children daily in our 6 child care centers offer Pre-K Counts programming at 5 locations; our North East center will offer PKC in the Fall of 2017 participate in the KEYSTONE STARS program which measures quality in childcare programs. Learn more about KEYSTONE STARS at www.pakeys.org participates in the regulated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). We offer free meals which consist of breakfast, lunch and snack. provide warm, nurturing and educational environments for children ages six weeks through twelve years. focus on developmentally appropriate and enriching curriculum, with an emphasis on achieving the state’s learning standards for each child. curriculum is center-based with a hands-on approach to learning, where child, parent, teacher, and community are actively involved. serve 25 families a month, 80 adults and children through our in-house food pantry. Although most of our families qualify for food pantry service, due to multiple issues and often lack of transportation, they are not able to access them. We would like to know that our Early Connections children, and their families, are not constantly battling hunger. "My son has attended the North East location of Early Connections since 2015. I can not say enough about the wonderful staff there! The last nine months in particular have been the best so far. I am very particular about my childcare, and there is no one I trust more than Stephanie, Ashley, Alexis, and Christine. I feel that they truly care, not just about my son, but about all of the children. I also love how the center has grown this year from a Star 2 facility to a Star 4, and that they moved into the elementary center, so that they kids can become familiar with the 'big school'. That is phenomenal! I am confident that my son is receiving the best pre-k program in town!" ~Claire Mellors

Pre-K Counts Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, increases accessibility to high quality pre-kindergarten programs for young children, especially those considered to be high-risk. This opportunity is designed for children who: • are between age 3 and younger than the entry age for kindergarten; • live in a family earning up to 300% of poverty; and • may also have language barriers, a disability or developmental delay, or other issues that make them at risk for failing in school. Pre-K Counts outcomes continue to show that children enrolled in the initiative are: • Making outstanding progress throughout their participation in the program; • Entering kindergarten with appropriate academic and social skills and ready to learn; • Continuing to achieve in school and through second grade. The most recent data provided by the 2015-2016 Pennsylvania Reach and Risk Report shows: • As of 2016 there were 17,115 preschoolers throughout the state enrolled in Pre- K Counts, or 6% of eligible children. • Erie County exceeded that percentage – 886 children, or 13.6% of eligible preschoolers participated in Pre-K Counts during the 2015-16 school year. During 2016-17, Early Connections • Provided PKC programming for 167 eligible preschoolers at 5 locations • Successfully applied for and received over 50 new Pre-K Counts expansion slots • Our North East location will begin offering Pre-K Counts programming in Fall 2017 in their new location at Earle C. Davis Primary School. "I love the activities you all do with the kids and the learning techniques during the Pre-K Counts Program. I also appreciate the occasional day the parents are able to come and spend the day and do learning activities with their child. Lastly, the in depth progress reports shows me how attentive the teacher is to my child and that makes me feel good. Feels like she is already in Kindergarten. Oh, and the daily board showing what the child has done in school that day is helpful for me as a parents. Thank you all!" ~ Noe'Khea Williams 4 N.I.N.E. Early Connections would like to extend a special acknowledgement to 4 N.I.N.E., a North East-based non-profit which assists the local community through a variety of outreach programs and opportunities, including a Thrift Store, Child Care scholarships, GED classes, Food Pantry, Community Center, and many other beneficial initiatives. 4 N.I.N.E. has been a much-appreciated supporter and community partner of Early Connections’ growth in the North East Community in many essential ways. We particularly acknowledge their financial support which allowed Early Connections to begin a program with four children which has now grown to over thirty enrolled! We encourage you to visit https://www.facebook.com/4NeighborsInNorthEast/ to learn more about this remarkable organization.

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