CenClear and State College Area School District are partnering to expand local access to early childhood education.
The district will provide space in the Fairmount Building, 411 S. Fraser St. in State College, for CenClear to offer full-day preschool classes at no cost to income-eligible families, according to a memorandum of understanding unanimously approved by the school board on Monday night.
“We’ve been talking about moving this ahead, so this gives us an opportunity for CenClear to serve the students in our community with this partnership using a couple of classrooms over at Fairmount,” Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said.
The Fairmount Building was formerly home to SCASD’s Delta Program, which moved to a new facility on the high school’s Westerly Parkway campus in 2018.
Enrollment in the preschool program is open to children ages 3 to 5 “from low income households or families otherwise facing barriers to early childhood education,” according to a news release. Families will need to provide proof income to enroll.
CenClear will begin moving in next week and the preschool program is scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 25, according to the MOU. The agreement expires June 30, 2023 and can be extended annually.
The nonprofit will continue to operate its preschool in the district’s former Matternville Elementary building in Patton Township, as well as programs throughout Centre, Clearfield and Elk counties.
Teachers in CenClear’s preschool programs “help children develop academically, socially and emotionally, as well as gain independence and build self-esteem,” according to the news release.
Classes focus on all development in math, language, literacy, science, social studies, social and emotional, the arts and cognition, with curriculum that promotes learning through play, experimenting and hands-on activities.
Developmental assessments are completed three times a year.
The program will provide meals and snacks in a setting to work on self-help and social skills; engage families with parent/caregiver activities and connecting them with community resources; schedule two home visits and two parent conferences to work as a team in supporting children.
It also will accept children learning English as a second language.
“This is an exciting step toward improving access to early child education for families in need throughout our community,” Board President Amber Concepcion said.
For more information about the program and applying for enrollment, visit www.cenclear.org or call 1-800-525-5437.
Founded in 1980, CenClear early childhood, preschool, mental health and drug and alcohol services to children, teens, adults, and families from locations in 10 counties.