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News & Events

New Full-Day Preschool Option Available at Everett Elementary

Bedford, PA (May 29, 2013) – Families of young children in Bedford County can now send their children to preschool in the same buildings where they will transition to kindergarten. New for the 2013-14 school year, The Learning Lamp is partnering with the Everett Area School District to operate a full-day preschool for 4-year-olds on-site at Everett Elementary School. The preschool will be modeled after a similar program available to children and families at Bedford Elementary. Both the Everett and Bedford preschool programs are enrolling now for fall of 2013!

“More than half of kindergartners in the Everett Area School District started school last year without having attended preschool,” explained Erica Ponczek, Director of Child Development and Early Learning at The Learning Lamp.

For some children, the cost of tuition may be one reason they didn’t attend preschool. According to Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), nearly two of every three children under age 5 in the Bedford and Everett areas live in families experiencing some level of financial hardship (at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level). While many of those children would qualify for free preschool through Head Start or Pre-K Counts, there are no Pre-K Counts classrooms nearby and only a limited number of available Head Start slots. Of those children living in the Bedford area who could benefit from Head Start, only one in five actually participates in the program. In Everett, one in three eligible children is enrolled in Head Start, according to OCDEL.

The Learning Lamp’s pre-k programs in Everett and Bedford include scholarships through Pennsylvania’s Pre-Kindergarten Tax Credit Program for children whose families qualify. The Learning Lamp is an approved Pre-Kindergarten Scholarship Organization and distributes about $100,000 in preschool scholarships each year. That tuition assistance, which comes from contributions to The Learning Lamp from businesses seeking tax credits, made preschool possible for two of five students at The Little Learning Lamp at Bedford Elementary during the 2012-13 school year.

“Children without a solid pre-k experience are at increased risk of falling behind their peers, not only in kindergarten, but throughout elementary school and beyond. The early literacy skills children establish in preschool provides the foundational building blocks for learning to read, and that is so incredibly important,” added Ponczek.

A 2011 study by the University of Minnesota found that children enrolled in a full-time preschool program that sees them through elementary school have a better life 25 years later than children who were not in preschool. Decades later, those who attended preschool had higher incomes, higher education levels, a higher socioeconomic status, and were less likely to abuse drugs or be involved in criminal activities.

The Learning Lamp operates a network of 13 licensed preschools, child care centers, and before/after school programs in Cambria, Somerset and Bedford Counties. In all, the organization served more than 13,000 children from 75 school districts in 35 counties of Pennsylvania in 2012. In addition to early learning and child care, The Learning Lamp also provides:

• one-to-one tutoring;

• summer school and credit recovery;

• summer camps;

• online learning opportunities;

• alternative education;

• portable classrooms aimed at building science, math, and geography skills; and

• temporary staffing and grant writing services to schools.

The Learning Lamp is a proud member agency of the United Way of Bedford County and United Way of the Laurel Highlands. In addition, the agency is one of only 51 nonprofits—and the only one in Bedford County—to earn the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organization (PANO) Standards for Excellence certification. The Learning Lamp was also recently awarded the GuideStar Exchange Seal, a mark of accountability and transparency in the national nonprofit sector.

To learn more about The Learning Lamp or to enroll your children at The Little Learning Lamp at Everett or Bedford Elementary Schools, call (814) 262-0732 or 1-855-301-LAMP (5267).



Posted on May 30, 2013

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