The New Holland Early Learning Center began as a ministry of New Holland Mennonite Church (NHMC) on April 2, 1981. When it began, there were classes on Thursdays and Fridays with only two paying children enrolled. By the end of the month the enrollment increased to six children. In September, 25 children were enrolled.
In March of 1982, the decision was made to operate the daycare program during the summer. Three years later, in 1985, a five-day program began. A preschool program was added in 1987 and a kindergarten in 1998. (The kindergarten program ended in 2020 because ELANCO school district began all day kindergarten.)
The Early Learning Center incorporated in 2000 as an independent 501©3 non-profit corporation. The Center continues to be housed in the church and has a close relationship with the congregation. For many years, NHMC provided substantial financial investments in the Center. In recent years the Center has become self-sufficient and sustainable. Board members include persons from the local community and across Lancaster County, as well as patrons and church members.
Connections with New Holland Mennonite Church
Church members are committed to the ministry of the Early Learning Center in a variety of ways. Along with financial gifts, members volunteer as grandparents in classrooms, are prayer partners with teachers, volunteer time maintaining the building, and raise vegetables in the 3/4 acre garden for Center meals and for families to take home to use in their own kitchens. Pastor Dawn is available to children, staff, and families. She regularly wanders the hallways saying hi. She serves coffee to parents one morning a week during the school year. Feel free to stop by her office to say hi.
We participate in the Keystone STARS Certification Program, designed to evaluate and improve the quality of child care. The program offers Standards, Training, Assistance, Resources and Support (STARS) to child care providers and recognizes the continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania.