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AdventHealth for Children, in collaboration with LIFT Orlando and Primrose Schools, recently broke ground on an innovative early learning center for the children of the communities of West Lakes.
The center is part of a multipronged effort led by the nonprofit LIFT Orlando — bringing together government, the private sector and nonprofits — to drive investments that strengthen the historic community around Camping World Stadium. AdventHealth was among the founders of LIFT in 2012 and has been a proud supporter of its efforts ever since.
“AdventHealth is investing in the early-learning space because we know the first five years of a child’s life are the most important to their long-term health and success,” said Debbie Spielman, vice president and chief operating officer of AdventHealth for Children. “Our whole organization has embraced the effort to go deep into this community and help deliver high-quality cradle-to-career education, which is part of our longtime support of LIFT’s holistic mission of neighborhood revitalization.”
Data published in the most recent Community Health Needs Assessment shows that while there are health centers near the community, West Lakes and surrounding areas have high uninsured rates.
The Maryland-based Bainum Family Foundation — which invests in high-quality early learning in Washington, D.C., and other locations across the U.S. — is providing funding of $12.75 million to the AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida toward the construction and the first 10 years of operations of the school. The Bainum Family Foundation also will provide technical assistance for the design, operations, governance and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the early learning center.
“Reaching children during these early years with high-quality early learning and a continuum of vital wrap-around supports gives them the best chance of success in both school and life,” said David Daniels, chief operating officer for the Bainum Family Foundation. “We look forward to partnering with the West Lakes community to provide that approach, and we hope this early learning center will serve as a model to bring increased opportunities to other communities around the country.”
Additional funds for the school’s ongoing operation in coming years will be raised by philanthropic efforts by the AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida and by LIFT Orlando.
The center will open in August for the 2019-2020 school year. It will ultimately serve approximately 220 children from 6 weeks to age 5, and will offer comprehensive services, including social support, health-and-wellness programs, and early-literacy outreach in the community.
The West Lakes Early Learning Center’s curriculum will leverage Primrose Schools’ proprietary Balanced Learning curriculum and AdventHealth’s “CREATION Kids Curriculum” to educate and support each child in all aspects of their development, including their character development, spirituality and healthy lifestyle.
Primrose Schools, a national leader in early-childhood education and care, is in its 36th year and has close to 400 accredited preschools in 29 states. It is well respected for its high-quality, innovative and collaborative approach to early-childhood education.
“Research shows the benefits of high-quality early learning experiences to young children and their families, especially those children who are the most vulnerable,” said Primrose Chief School Excellence Officer Annette Heng. “We look forward to working with AdventHealth for Children, and we believe this center will serve as a pilot for similar mixed-income scholarship centers in communities around the country.”