Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach, a regional early childhood education center, has sprouted quickly on the campus of Barton Elementary School in North Long Beach after county, city and school district officials broke ground on the project last May.
New construction includes a two-story administration building, 16 classrooms in three one-story modular buildings, a drop-off area and playground. Modular buildings have now been set in place with a large crane.
The model preschool is a collaboration of public and private partners and is one of 22 schools in the national Educare Learning Network.
The partnership includes the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach Education Foundation, L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment, The Advancement Project, Educare Learning Network, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Ounce of Prevention Fund and other private donors.
The project, partially supported by school bond funds approved by local voters, will serve youngsters and parents from the immediate neighborhood near the Carmelitos low-income housing project. Educare schools follow a model that aims to close achievement gaps by bringing high-quality preschools to neighborhoods where families normally wouldn’t be able to afford it. The project already has attracted media attention and was featured last week on 89.3 KPCC radio, which noted the specialized training that Educare teachers receive.
Toddler and preschool classes began this fall for more than 100 students on the Barton campus while the new buildings are being completed. The brand new facility will accommodate nearly 200 children ages zero to five starting this summer. The site is the first school to follow the Educare model in Southern California.
“Educare believes in the idea of creating opportunities for all students to achieve their dreams, and that starts from birth,” said LBUSD’s Maria Harris, principal of the school.