At South Whidbey Children’s Center, we approach early childhood education in the belief that the early years of a person’s life are some of the most important they’ll ever have. It is the time when the roots are laid for compassion, kindnesses, critical thinking and problem solving. It is a vital moment to instill confidence, literacy skills and to inlay the faith that if they work hard, they can learn and achieve anything. But perhaps most importantly, it is the time in a person’s life when they first learn to participate in a community.

This year, when we asked our teachers and staff why they chose to go into early childhood education for a career, many of them said the same thing: because children are the key to brighter future. This is the very same belief that was present at the founding of the South Whidbey Children’s Center over 38 years ago. We wholeheartedly believe that the skills we teach the children in our care help to make well-rounded, curious and engaged members of our community – both locally and globally.

Our small teacher-to-student ratios ensure that children at SWCC get the chance to be heard and understood by their teachers. It also enables us to follow our adopted HighScope curriculum, which involves observing a child’s personal interests and building their learning plan around those interests. This also helps us have more meaningful interactions that build a sense of confidence in each child, which is a crucial step in development that affects how a child moves throughout the world over time. These smaller class sizes also give our educators the ability to engage in meaningful problem-solving lessons with children, both in curriculum and the natural conflict that arises between children.

Our impact goes beyond the stellar education we provide, ranked among the top 10% of early childhood learning centers in the nation. We are also a non-profit, with 40% of our students receiving some form of financial aid. We work incredibly hard to pursue grants and raise money so that children from all different economic backgrounds in our community can have a chance at the best possible start in life. We have provided a safe, stable base for many foster children over the years and we are proud to accept DSHS subsidies for low income working families at our Center. We also strive to pay our teachers competitive, living wages to make sure that they can afford to live in the community they care for.

We pursue this work and these standards of care for our children, employees, families and community because we have seen firsthand over the last four decades the incredible impact it has had in our community and in the world. We are so proud of the things our alumni have gone on to do and we are thrilled when they come back to us with families of their own. We even have former SWCC kids come back to teach here because they found their time with us to be such a positive experience in their own lives and wish to pay that forward.