About Us

EC3 was originally developed as a collaborative effort between the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), the Lansing School District (LSD), local early childhood professionals, and the Ingham County Office for Young Children. Operated and staffed by the LSD, it was initially intended to be a child care center for the children of state employees and district residents.

EC3 began in 1984 for business as a pilot/model program to improve the quality of early education for all young children. The LSD superintendent at that time, Richard Halik, emphasized the need for public schools to take a more active role in preschool education, since many children were entering school unprepared. He agreed that quality childcare programs would be one way to help remedy that problem.

Start-up funds were provided through an MDE grant to the LSD for the development of a model childcare delivery system. It was intended that other institutions wishing to provide quality childcare to a wide range of children, including the educationally disadvantaged, could then replicate this model.

EC3 was developed into a model-training site for the eleven childcare programs that were occupying space in LSD buildings at that time. In addition, EC3 also functioned as a child development training site for MSU and LCC, offering an important community link. The collaborative model grant from the MDE provided scholarships for four-year-old children at risk of school failure, and federally-generated Chapter One money from the LSD was used for scholarships for low-income four-year-olds.

EC3 was originally located in the Michigan School for the Blind, on West Willow Street, although from the outset the Main Street School building was viewed as its possible future venue. In 1987, the Main Street School building was renovated into an early childhood education center, known as Main Street Childcare. The Main Street site was operated by the LSD as an additional, high-quality child care facility, while EC3 operated at the School for the Blind.

As time went on, EC3 outgrew their space in the Michigan School for the Blind. The LSD was no longer using the Main Street Building as a child care facility. The EC3 Board of Directors indicated interest in leasing the Main Street building and began negotiations. In May of 1998, EC3 began a five-year lease of the Main Street School building, and EC3 purchased the building from the LSD in 2006. EC3 staff and parents continue to invest a great deal of time, money, and energy in developing the building and playgrounds into a "home away from home."

In keeping with its vision to be the premier child care center in the greater Lansing area, EC3's model program currently serves roughly one hundred families from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Generally, 10% of the children enrolled receive some form of state or federal assistance. EC3 is one of the few child care centers in Lansing accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. EC3 has participated in Great Start to Quality since its inception in 2011, and currently has a four-star rating. EC3 is also an important training site for mid-Michigan's future early childhood professionals. As a teaching facility, EC3 provides tours, observations, and job shadowing opportunities for local college students considering early childhood careers.

EC3 continues to operate as a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide developmentally appropriate child care in a nurturing environment that promotes growth of the whole child while responding to the needs of the family. Its operations are funded almost solely through tuition, while capital improvements are funded through the Building Blocks Campaign.  To donate to either the Building Blocks Campaign please click HERE.

I recommend EC3 wholeheartedly, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. They have been the utmost professional and proactive in their response and communication. They adhere to the strictest safety and sanitation protocols and it shows. Since returning our child has thrived in Toddlerland and I am grateful for the tutelage his teachers provide him and us! The quality curriculum is evident and appreciated. The teachers are treated as valued educators and this makes a noticeable difference. I know each day our child is receiving excellent care which eases our minds as we work from home to provide for our family.

Parent feedback from February 2021 Google Review
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