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About Us

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Director of Early Childhood Education: Jennifer Fox
Dean of Students: Lacy Althoff
Current Enrollment: 141
At ELC, it is our pleasure to work with “little people” every day! It is our mission to provide a strong, nurturing academic foundation and a positive first experience for all students attending The Early Learning Center. ELC is home to 141 kindergarten students. We have 9 classrooms of kindergarten students, and the average class size is 18-20 students. According to the needs of our students, we also offer classrooms with special education services, co-teaching, and interventions. For students who qualify, we offer education-based speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision, and hearing services. 

Our goal is to meet each child at his or her level of learning and grow him or her to the greatest extent possible. 

ELC Curriculum

The Early Learning Center has successfully implemented a new ELA curriculum with fidelity.  Fundations is a structured literacy approach grounded in the science of reading to make early literacy learning fun with a multisensory approach.  Wonders reading curriculum focuses on fostering a love of reading in all children.  Exploration of a variety of texts, combined with daily instruction in reading, writing, and listening skills allows focus on the whole child and develops critical thinking and a love of learning.  We have seen significant growth in the students at ELC and the teachers are encouraged with the implementation of the new ELA curriculum. 


The Early Learning Center implemented a Mystery Reader Program that focuses on books from The Monarch book project.  The Monarch is designed to encourage children to read critically and become familiar with children’s books, authors, and illustrators.

Promote discussion of common, high interests books

Empower students through voting choice.

Encourage a culture of reading for joy.


Math in Focus, the math curriculum at ELC, is in its third year of implementation.  Math in Focus is built on research from Singapore math emphasizing problem solving as central to learning.  The program approach uses manipulatives, diagrams, modeling and abstract symbols to build math understanding.  The hands-on math activities and manipulatives allow learners to experience concepts in a concrete,fun way.  This year students that can count to 100 join our 100s Club and will receive a pair of 100 glasses to wear on the 100th day of school.  ELC implemented a schoolwide game of bingo to reinforce the teen numbers and add fun to our math practice. 


ELC uses Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) schoolwide to teach and model good behaviors and promote school safety. High Five Bootcamp allows all teachers time and strategies to model expectations with rules, and procedures at ELC.   The implementation of the High Five Store reward allows students to be rewarded for good behavior and following rules and expectations with High Five Tickets.  High Five tickets can be used to purchase items and activities from the High Five Store each week.  Playing a game with the principal is an example of a positive reward for good behavior at ELC.  


ELC is continually looking for ways to extend learning beyond the classroom. This year they have had presentations from Ag in the Classroom, a Veteran’s Day Assembly, guest speakers, the NED Show to promote a Growth Mindset, and Animalogy Assembly featuring live animals and instruction on their habitats and characteristics. There are also many schoolwide activities that students enjoy, promoting a positive, unified school culture. They have enjoyed our Family Read Night, friendship feasts, a Christmas Sing-A-Long, and holiday celebrations. We are still looking forward to our 100’s Day celebration, Dr. Seuss week, Fun in the Sun activities, Spring musical presentations, assemblies, and our field trip to Ballard Nature Center in the spring.


ELC's Kindergarten curriculum is a blend of academics and developmentally appropriate activities designed to nurture the “whole child.” ELC is “open” in a couple of different ways. The building itself is open in that each room connects to another classroom, allowing team-teaching activities and a “be kind to your neighbor” attitude in the students. It is also open educationally speaking. Teachers share their ideas, and various teaching styles are implemented in an attempt to capture different learning styles of all students. The different channels utilized by students are the following:

  • Visual (smart boards, computers, IPADs, quality literature)
  • Auditory (literature, audio books, daily music in the classroom, music class 3 times per week)
  • Kinesthetic (music & movement activities, P.E. twice a week, daily calendar, daily hands-on approach to learning)
  • Tactile (free choice centers, secure sensory filled environment, leveled learning, daily fine motor activities)


ELC Goals

As noted in our mission statement, the goal of our teachers and staff is to promote an enlightening first school experience for each child. We also strive to provide a safe, nurturing environment that will help students develop a positive self image. ELC holds to a strong belief that the educational success of all students lies in both the school and the home-school connection. Therefore, ELC greatly welcomes and encourages parental involvement.

We are blessed to have an incredible team of teachers, interventionists, paraprofessionals, administrative assistants, cooks, custodians, cafeteria monitors, guidance counselor, social worker, parents, volunteers, and community members all uniting to form a powerful partnership for learning and to help us achieve our mission.


Welcome to the Early Learning Center

Our focus is to build a strong foundation of learning in kindergarten! Our teaching team implements a challenging curriculum and seeks to provide creative learning opportunities and differentiated instruction to allow each student to grow to his or her unique potential. Throughout the year, we strive to build a partnership between home and school and to foster a lifetime love of learning for our students.

It is our mission to provide a strong, nurturing academic foundation and a positive first experience for all students attending ELC. We are blessed to have an incredible team of teachers, parents, volunteers, and community members all uniting to form a powerful partnership for learning and to help us achieve our mission.

Whether you're a first-time parent entrusting your little one to our care or a returning family continuing the journey, we are honored to be a part of this chapter in your child's life. Welcome to the Early Learning Center family, where learning is an adventure and friendships last a lifetime. Let's lay the foundation for a bright and promising future!

Visitors to school are required by state law to report to the office whenever they enter a school building. Please make sure you stop at the office to sign in and sign out when entering and leaving the building and wear a visitor's badge for the safety of the students. Thank you!

This Childcare Scholarship can help provide support to Effingham County residents who need financial assistance and do not qualify for CCAP. If your employment opportunities are limited due to childcare costs, then the Effingham County Childcare Scholarship Program could be the support you need. Click here to learn more: https://www.groweffinghamcountyil.com/clientuploads/Effingham_County_Childcare_Scholarship_Application-7.1.23_Updated_CCAP.pdf

Calling All Kindergarteners! The Early Learning Center in Effingham Unit 40 has a preregistration process for kindergarten for each school year. Please feel free to call ELC at 217-540-1460 with questions or to get the process started.

Click below to download a copy of our preregistration flyer to share with family and friends.