Photo courtesy of Educare.

Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach broke ground on Southern California’s first Educare school, located on the campus of the Clara Barton Elementary School on Wednesday. Public, private and philanthropic leaders attended to celebrate the beginning of construction.

Committed to improving the quality of early education, child development and family engagement, Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach is projected to open in the fall and will primarily serve 3- and 4-year-olds. In summer 2018 when construction is expected to be completed, the Educare school will serve nearly 200 low-income children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, according to the release.

“The groundbreaking for this Educare school represents an exciting moment of progress for all of us who care about improving the quality of children’s learning and health during their earliest years,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn said in a statement. “As a one-time teacher, I know that an early childhood education is critical to success and Educare in Long Beach will help make it happen.”

The Educare school will serve young children and their families with a research-based program proven to prepare children for kindergarten. The school’s dual-language learning program will serve as a model for other early childhood programs and connect with a related program in K-12 schools in the Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD).

“As part of the City of Long Beach’s commitment to education, we are proud to partner with the LBUSD and the Educare network,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “The Educare network plays a crucial role in narrowing the achievement gap among our most vulnerable residents.”

Through its coast-to-coast network of 22 schools, each embraces the community’s most vulnerable children with programming that develops skills early on as well as fosters the strong parent-child relationships that create the foundation for successful learning. The comprehensive early childhood program is aimed at preventing the achievement gap that takes root between children in poverty and their middle-income peers well before they enter kindergarten.

“The partnership between Long Beach Unified and Educare will enable hundreds of our most vulnerable students to receive the early education scientifically proven to provide a pathway to success,” Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education Vice President Megan Kerr said in a statement.

Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach was formed through a partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach Education Foundation, LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment, The Advancement Project, Educare Learning Network, Buffett Early Childhood Fund and Ounce of Prevention Fund, according to Educare.

For more information about Educare’s newest campus in Long Beach, or to learn more about its network of schools, visit the website here.

Educare Los Angeles at Long Beach is located at Clara Barton Elementary School at 4840 Lemon Avenue.

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Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].