Children and staff share a laugh at Bucks County Community College’s Early Learning Center, which recently expanded its hours and opened enrollment to members of the community. To learn more about affordable, quality care for three to five year olds in Newtown, visit www.bucks.edu/elc or call 215-968-8082.

NEWTOWN >> Bucks County Community College’s Early Learning Center, which has provided on-site childcare for children of students and staff since 1973, is expanding its hours and opening enrollment to the community for the first time.

“We recognized the need for high quality, affordable childcare, and so we decided to expand our services to community members as well,” said JoAnn Eckley, director and lead teacher at the ELC. “We offer a unique learning environment that takes advantage of the resources available on the Newtown campus.”

The ELC provides full- and half-day care for potty-trained children ages three to five years old between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and a summer day-camp program. The ELC is now open year-round, including between academic semesters, and is licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

“At the heart of both our preschool and prekindergarten programs is wholehearted respect for children and belief in their abilities,” noted Eckley. “These include carefully prepared learning environments, which offer children genuine choices and opportunities for exploration and discovery.”

In addition, the ELC teachers are able to take the children outside the classroom to explore the college library, gym, art gallery, and more, further enriching their daily experiences.

“What’s really different about us is our location on a college campus,” added Eckley. “Students majoring in early childhood education often use our classrooms as their laboratory – observing children, reading stories to them, and playing and interacting with them.”

Affordable rates for community members range from $60 a week for two half days, to $250 a week for five full days. Snacks are provided; children must bring their own lunches. More information is available at www.bucks.edu/elc. For questions and registration information, contact JoAnn Eckley at joann.eckley@bucks.edu or 215-968-8082.

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