South Side Learning & Development Center – Connecting with Community

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Being able to work or go to school while knowing that your preschool child is being taken care of in a safe, loving environment can be a challenge for many parents living in poverty. But South Side Learning & Development Center has been helping parents and their children prepare for school and life since 1922.

As the first “Day Nursery” located on Columbus’ South Side, SSLDC has always used a holistic approach when serving its families. While providing the educational foundation that helps children enter kindergarten prepared and excited to learn, we also provide resources for the family unit. A study by Stanford University showed that children living in poverty start kindergarten so far behind their peers that they never catch up. The study also shows that by enrolling the children in a high-quality early learning center and helping parents with their needs, the entire family does better and the children do better throughout their lives.

SSLDC is part of a national model of community collaboration with 13 other social service organizations housed in the Reeb Avenue Center that provide combined “cradle to career” programs that help move families from poverty to posterity. We currently have six programs that offer free or reduced rates for at-risk families, including Early Head Start (6 weeks to 3 year olds) and Head Start (3-5 year olds). Our teachers have an average of 20 years in education and over 10 years in our Center.

Nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and a Step-Up-To-Quality Five Star Center (a quality rating and improvement system for early learning centers that is administered by the Ohio Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services), we are making a difference! Since moving to our new state-of-the-art facility in the Reeb Avenue Center, we’ve had parents who never finished high school complete their GED’s, parents who never considered going to college enroll and proudly announce being on the Dean’s list two consecutive semesters, parents who have been hard to employ take classes that have enabled them to find better paying jobs, teen pregnant moms who received training to help them and their infants have successful beginnings. These same parents have children who recently graduated from our Center and are now in kindergarten and proudly on honor roll lists.

While a tremendous rejuvenation and investment is taking place in this community, we still see incredible need for the children and families who live here. Trying to provide programs and resources that offer opportunities for positive change can be a challenge. Many of our families receive free or reduced tuition. Many more need help. When you donate or volunteer, you are helping provide at-risk children and their families with opportunities that can make a difference in their lives – by offering them a hand up instead of a hand out.

Open enrollment is available year round as vacancies occur and are filled via our waiting list. SSLDC is now enrolling for the 2018-2019 program year – call (614) 444-1529. To volunteer or donate, please visit www.southsidelearning.org

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