Senator Patty Murray visits Early Learning Center

Senator Patty Murray visits Early Learning Center
Posted on 05/31/2018
Senator Patty Murray visits Early Learning Center

On Wednesday, May 30, Senator Patty Murray visited the Franklin Pierce Early Learning Center to see how we support our youngest learners. Senator Murray is no stranger to education as she began her political career by working to preserve a local preschool program that was targeted by state cuts. She helped to mobilize 13,000 parents to save the program and later served on the Shoreline School Board before being elected to the Washington State Senate and United States Senate.

During Wednesday’s visit, Senator Murray was impressed by the Franklin Pierce Early Learning Center facility, the high level of engagement among families, and the innovative thinking required to bring various programs together under one roof.

Superintendent Hewins provided history and context for the Early Learning Center by recognizing the contributions of the Parkland United Methodist Church congregation and support from the Washington State Legislature to transform an aging church facility into a modern, safe, and welcoming facility that fosters growth and learning among young learners. Early Learning Center Director, Carol Miller guided a short tour of the facility, spotlighting the different programs, learning spaces, and the guiding values of the center.

There was no shortage of activity as Senator Murray’s visit coincided with the inaugural parent-led Early Learning Center Family Carnival. Perfect weather made for a fun, engaging and educational event with indoor and outdoor activities including face painting, a reading station, photo booth, popcorn and several outdoor games. Murray was quick to note the level enthusiasm and energy among students, staff and families alike and acknowledged the wisdom in linking separate early learning programs.

“This is the type of model that we need to replicate in other places. Having these programs under one roof just makes sense”, Murray noted as she learned about the various ways that the ELC serves over 340 children each week.

Beyond replicating the model in other places, Franklin Pierce Schools is in the process of expanding the current ELC model through an expansion project in order to accommodate the growing demand for early learning in the district. The Washington State Legislature approved the funding of a design and 2018-2019 planning phase and the Franklin Pierce Schools will be working over the next 12-24 months to identify resources to ensure that the Early Learning Center is equipped to serve the needs of our community, while complying with state and federal standards.