Elizabeth Learning Center

Programs and Services for Families and Children 0-5

As part of the Urban Learning Center Design implemented at ELC in 1992, a focus on addressing barriers to learning and creating a community of life-long learners became the impetus for many new programs and activities. A need to expand programs for the parents and other adults in the community led to identifying the greatest barrier to adult learning in the community, the absence of any childcare facilities, especially given the economic status of community members. This led to the first expansion of early childhood programs on site. The parents with support from ELC Family Center and school administrators and leadership provided by the Huntington Park/Bell Adult School formed its own childcare cooperative. The cooperative operates on a small amount of funding for two 15 hour positions from the school budget, program support and planning provided by an Adult Education teacher and many hours of volunteer time from parents.

One initial outcome of this cooperative was identifying the need for parenting classes for many of the participants in the cooperative. The leadership group developed, as part of the guidelines for using the parent cooperative, a mandatory participation in weekly parenting classes. The focus of these parenting classes is on a variety of issues around parenting young children and is staffed by teachers from Huntington Park/Bell Adult School. In fact, the parent educator who began this work at ELC has now trained over 300 parents from 10 other local schools in a parent leadership program entitled "Comadres/Compadres."

This partnership with parents and community members led to a greater communication about the needs of the community. Increasing childcare and early childhood education opportunities became primary goals of the school leadership, adult education staff and the members of the Elizabeth Family and Health Center Advisory Board. This focus on expanding Early Childhood programs and services has led to partnerships with the Los Angeles County Office of Education - Head Start Division, the Gluck Foundation, LAUSD Adult School and LAUSD state pre-school program. By April 2000 early childhood programs will be expanded to include:

  • An Early Childhood Cooperative Program for children aged 18 months -3 years
  • Family Literacy for 3 year olds and their parents
  • 4 Head Start Classes for children 4-5 years
  • 4 State Pre-School Classes for children 4-5 years
  • 4 LAUSD Pre-school Classes for children 4-5 years (School Readiness and Language Development Program, SRLDP funded out of district Integration Funds

The early childhood program has grown four classes funded by the school district, that served 60 children, to a collaborative effort with several funding sources. This collaboration delivers early childhood programs for 300 children from 18 months to 5 years.

We would like to expand our services to include more health and social support programs for young children and their parents. We would like to increase our on-site health services by providing ob/gyn and pre-natal services to a greater number of community members. We hope to add a home visitation program that would start with prenatal care and continue for the first two years of life with a health and social support focus. We want to continue our efforts to make sure that every young child in our community is fully immunized.