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Willard Community Center expands preschool to serve more
In a century-old former school building in southwest Lincoln, Willard Community Center quietly serves thousands of families in the neighborhood. Thanks to a recent remodel and the momentum created through Prosper Lincoln, Willard Community Center has expanded and improved its ability to provide high quality, early childhood education to the families it serves.
While improvements were made in many areas, the early childhood services received a lot of attention during planning for the remodel. “We decided to focus on preschool and pre-kindergarten to make the most impact and serve the most children,” said Janelle Soderling, Executive Director of Willard Community Center.
“We had been planning to make improvements to our building and expand our programs but when Prosper Lincoln announced that early childhood was a priority for the community, it really helped build support for our project,” said Soderling.
Willard Community Center offers state-licensed full and part-time preschool programs for 3 and 4-year olds, in the newly remodeled building. The curriculum focuses on age appropriate physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development. Children enjoy learning centers incorporated into the daily schedule introducing math, science and language.
This program currently has 12 openings for children. The capacity is 24.
Willard also offers a pre-kindergarten program in a separate location near Lakeview Elementary School for 4 and 5-year olds who will go to Kindergarten in the fall. Currently, the program with a capacity of 20 still has 6 available openings.
Both programs accept Title XX and overall costs are designed to be accommodating for working families.
Affordability and quality are both important. “We have really great teachers who are have exceeded training requirements and have been with us for a long time,” said Soderling. The organization continues to strive for improvement by partnering with United Way to work through the State of Nebraska’s Step Up to Quality program.
Willard also manages before and after school programs at Roper Elementary School and the Community Learning Center at Lakeview. Families interested in exploring early childhood education or CLC programming with Willard can learn more at https://www.willardcommunitycenter.org/.