Local Early Learning Center Receives Grant Money

The Beth Shalom Early Learning Center (ELC) has received almost $70,000 in grant funding from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). The ELC qualified for two grants due to its Keystone STARS rating and its commitment to individualized attention to students who have various learning needs. The Beth Shalom ELC is a STAR 4A facility, the highest ranking available from Keystone.One grant of $37,800 is dedicated for improvements to the general learning experience and physical environment for the children. So far, purchases have included an iPad for each classroom; several Macbooks for staff and teacher use; new classroom furniture including plush child-size sofas; toys such as dolls, trucks, and costumes for dress-up; and rocking chairs for infant rooms and nursing areas.  Supplies will also be purchased for the preschool’s Reggio Emilia-inspired Valinsky Art Studio.
A portion of the funding has been earmarked for teacher professional development.The ELC earned the second grant of $31,390 due to the number of credits earned by teachers in early childhood education. Because many of the school’s educators have continued to earn degrees and credits in early childhood while working at Beth Shalom, the OCDEL awarded the additional grant to be used as retention bonuses for teachers.“We couldn’t be prouder of what our school community has accomplished this past year,” says director Jennifer Slattery.  “Applying for this grant money was no small feat, but with the commitment of our teachers, staff, and families, we compiled a package we are proud of, and now we have funding to do so many more amazing things for the children. We will see the results of these grants for years to come, most especially because the money is allowing us to help retain our best teachers.”Beth Shalom Early Learning Center is located in Squirrel Hill and enrolls children from age six weeks through Pre-K in full-year, academic-year, and summer programming.
The ELC is accredited by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and maintains a 4A STARS rating from the Pennsylvania Keystone STARS program. The program implements a play-based curriculum that supports the principles of the Creative Curriculum, Reggio Emilia, and PA Early Learning Standards, with sensitivity to the environmental, cultural, and individual needs of its children and families. Emphasizing Jewish heritage and culture, the ELC also provides an education that is rich in Jewish customs, rituals, and celebrations. The ELC is open to children of all faiths. The students learn invaluable social skills and get a jump-start via a solid curriculum including science, art, math, language arts, music, and movement.
For Immediate Release: June 22, 2015
Contact: Jennifer Slattery, slattery@bethshalompgh.org, 412-421-8857

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