FLINT, Mich. – State and local leaders were on hand to celebrate the opening of Educare Flint, a new, state-of-the-art school located at 1000 Gladwyn Street. The school opened its doors to students on December 4 and will serve up to 220 Flint children from birth to age five each year.
The school is part of the Educare Learning Network created by the Buffett Early Childhood Fund and the Ounce of Prevention Fund to help its twenty-three-member schools, including Flint, provide children with stimulating, high-quality educational experiences that support success in kindergarten and beyond.
“Typically, it takes about four to five years for partners in the community to come together to focus on one mission, which is about providing quality care for children,” said Cynthia Jackson, senior vice president of the Educare Learning Network.
“In Genesee County and Flint, we saw the partners come together like we’ve never seen before led by the Mott Foundation, the Genesee Intermediate School District and others who, because of the water crisis, really wanted to put something in place to support children and their families in this community. Educare Flint joins our national efforts to advance knowledge about effective early education practices and policies, and drive greater demand for high-quality programs across the country, said Jackson.
“All of the partners who helped to make Educare Flint a realty are motivated by a single, simple belief that all children deserve an equal chance to succeed,” said Ridgway White, president of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which provided $11 million in grants to support construction of the nearly 36,000 square foot space. Exterior features of the school include heated sidewalks that provide a snowmelt system that helps parents carrying small children – or children walking with a parent – to avoid slipping during inclement weather. Classroom features include large windows and a stage area that gives the children a feeling of space, light and being outdoors.
Mayor Karen Weaver said the school’s opening marks a significant milestone for the community and that the state-of-the-art facility is the style of learning environment the children of Flint deserve.
State officials on hand included Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and State Senator Jim Ananich.
“I am committed to ensuring that Flint children have access to high-quality early education services so that they can reach their full potential,” said Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “Flint is stronger when everyone works together,” he said.
The Genesee Intermediate School District operates Educare Flint. Other partners who are helping to launch, support or implement the Educare model in Flint include, Flint Community Schools, Michigan State University, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the University of Michigan-Flint.
“I feel that every child in the community really deserves to have this quality of education and learning,” said Breyanna Chism, whose 3-month-old is enrolled at the school.
“It’s such a blessing to have a child come in and see that they really were thought about in the decision on how they put the building together,” she said. “Each child deserves to feel like they were thought about when they come into the building. It makes it a little bit easier to learn when you have a beautiful place around you have brand new equipment and new things. I just appreciate everything they have done,” she said.
Enrollment currently is focused on children who live in Flint now and who also lived in the city during the period of potential lead exposure. Students’ families also must meet income requirements related to the state and federal funding streams that support participation in the program. Enrollment is free for those who qualify.
Parents interested in enrolling their children in Educare Flint or another local preschool program should call (810) 591-KIDS.