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Growing By Leaps and Bounds

North Ward Early Childhood Center (ECC) Director Becky Corbett knew that when the ECC opened its doors last fall, it would provide long-needed educational and social services for the children of Allegan families.

She just didn’t know that it would become so successful as quickly as it did.

principal bending down to talk to young student outdoors “If I include the daycare and the preschools, we have 240 kids in this building,” Ms. Corbett said. “The phrase that comes to mind right away is, ‘if you build it, they will come.’ And they are coming. The waiting list is growing for the daycare and preschool for next year, and unfortunately, we may have to turn people away.”

Ms. Corbett thinks that the success of the Early Childhood Center can be attributed to the host of services it offers families. “From our trained and certified staff to our ancillary staff, we can meet speech, occupational therapy, and social work needs where any other preschool may not have all of those resources in house,” she said. “I think that is a major bonus. We can screen kids and meet their needs in a much faster way.”

In addition to fulfilling student needs, the Early Childhood Center is helping  support Allegan families as well. “We are able to provide a place where parents can feel comfortable leaving their children in a facility all day while they work,” Ms. Corbett said. “Knowing that there is so much support here (for their children) is huge.”

Ms. Corbett said that the ECC’s programming is based around hands-on learning through play. “It is an essential component to building foundational skills,” she said. And students are responding to those strategies. “I love seeing the kids smiling and having fun,” she said.

Pictured above: Early Childhood Center Director Becky Corbett praises a student for identifying the sound of a letter she found during an “ABC scavenger hunt.”


Author: Rob Patin, Allegan Public Schools