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A Strong Start for Local Children

Posted on October 28, 2021

Johnstown, PA (October 28, 2021) – Quality preschool ensures children arrive to kindergarten ready to learn, with a strong foundation of academic and social skills already in place. But in rural communities, the availability of preschool doesn’t always meet demand.

To provide additional early education opportunities to children in Cambria and Somerset counties, The Learning Lamp launched three new preschool classrooms, offering families affordable or free options to help their children learn and grow. Two classrooms are now available in Portage and one in Somerset, serving 46 local children.

Years of research on the impact of quality preschool shows that children who attend are more likely to succeed in elementary school and beyond, finish high school, and attend college. Not only that— so are their children. Participation in quality early childhood education has been found to transcend generations.

Two classrooms are available at Portage Elementary School. One serves income-eligible children and offers free preschool. A second classroom accommodates families who can afford a modest tuition payment, with scholarships available for those who need assistance.

A new preschool classroom in Somerset is unique because it offers free preschool for income-eligible families with the option of wraparound child care. This allows working families to drop off or pick up their child earlier or later that the scheduled program times.

“Children’s brains develop most rapidly between the ages of birth to 5. This makes preschool a critical time in helping them build the skills they need to learn to read,” said Melissa Gerber, preschool program manager for The Learning Lamp. Gerber oversees the organizations Pre-K Counts classrooms, which are state funded.

Enrollment is open now for the Pre-K Counts classrooms in both Portage and Somerset. They are free for families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty level. For example, a family of four earning $72,900 qualifies, while a family of six can earn up to $106,740. The second preschool classroom at Portage accepts families of all income levels. For more information or to enroll, contact Melissa Gerber at 814-262-0732 ext: 289 or visit: www.thelearninglamp.org.


The Learning Lamp is a nonprofit organization with a mission to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. We deliver high quality programs that are affordable and accessible to families of all income levels. In 2020, The Learning Lamp served 28,938 youth/adults from 51 public school districts and 36 other schools and organizations in 13 Pennsylvania counties. 

Our programs include: one-to-one tutoring; before/after school programs; portable classrooms aimed at building math and science skills; alternative education programs for at-risk students; evidence-based prevention programs; online learning and credit recovery; SAT preparation; educationally-focused child care; literacy-based preschool programs; and grant writing and project consulting for schools.

The latest on Instagram:

  • @thelearninglamp:Build a rewarding career with no nights or weekends. Now hiring personal care aides for elementary and high school classrooms in the Richland area. High school diploma or equivalent required. Click the link in our bio or text APPLYNOW21 to 474747. #ChildCare #JohnstownChildCare #TheLearningLamp #JohnstownPreschool #ChildDevelopment #BestPreschool #JohnstownJobs #Employment #EarlyChildhoodEducator #ActivitiesforToddlers #ChildhoodEducation
  • @thelearninglamp:Save the date! #GivingTuesday is only 4 days away! The Learning Lamp’s mission is to engage all children in the support they need to succeed. YOU can join us in the mission by making a worthwhile investment in local children. When you give, you make preschool possible for children in our community – giving every child a chance to succeed! Doesn't every child deserve this chance? #givingtuesday #givingeverychild #thelearninglamp #learnthroughplay #blackfriday

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