TCC Early Learning Center awarded $30K grant

The Early Learning Center (pictured) at Tacoma Community College has been awarded a $30,000, grant from The Bamford Foundation of Tacoma. The grant will fund improvements to the learning center’s outdoor play area and help support center operations.

The Bamford Foundation Director Holly Bamford Hunt noted that she was able to tour the center and see firsthand the positive impact the center has on the college and surrounding community. In her award letter, Hunt noted she envisioned the center as “a model program for other early learning centers in the community.”

The purpose of The Bamford Foundation grants is to help “improve the quality of life of individuals and to strengthen their communities,” primarily in the Tacoma and South Puget Sound area, and to “support 501c(3) organizations that use inventive and effective ways to offer opportunities for people to help themselves and those around them to lead productive and satisfying lives.” Early Childhood Education is a principal area of the foundation’s support, particularly “organizations that improve access to and quality of early childhood education and enhance professional development of those who work with young children.”

The Annette B. Weyerhaeuser Early Learning Center is the newest facility on the Tacoma Community College campus. Completed in 2008, the 13,000 sq. ft. facility provides affordable, quality childcare for Pierce County student-parents, allowing them to pursue their education while helping ensure school-readiness for their young children. Approximately 90 percent of families served at the ELC are considered low-income under federal guidelines.

The center also functions as a resource center for parents, providing parenting classes and community training in early child education. The center is also the only Pierce County site for Lesley University’s teacher certification program in elementary and special education. TCC offers training and college credit courses for local child care providers with certificates in Child Development and Management of Early Learning, as well as the two-year associate degree in applied sciences.