The goal of the Educare Learning Network is to prepare infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in low-income families to succeed in school and in life. The program focuses on school preparedness and family support in order to reduce the achievement gap that takes root early and puts children in poverty at great long-term disadvantage.
The first Educare school opened in Chicago in 2000, funded by the Ounce of Prevention Fund and the Irving Harris Foundation. Based on the successful model of this initial school, the Buffett Early Childhood Fund joined forces with the Ounce of Prevention Fund to open schools across the country.
Educare Expands to Arizona
Arizona leaders passionate about early childhood education jumped at the chance to create an Educare campus in the state. Starting in 2005, public policy professionals in then-Governor Janet Napolitano’s office worked with child/family services, education, business and philanthropic leaders to establish an Educare school in Arizona.
This public-private collaboration included visionary leaders seeking to serve Arizona families and provide a model to show the positive impact of high quality early childhood education.
Educare Arizona founding collaborators include: Southwest Human Development, the Whiteman Foundation, the Ibis Foundation of Arizona, the Steve Nash Foundation, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, and the Balsz School District. Additional partnerships were later formed with the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Scottsdale Healthcare and Arizona State University.
Educare leaders chose a location in the Balsz School District in Phoenix for the Arizona campus, and broke ground adjacent to Brunson Lee Elementary School, with a community celebration on September 16, 2010. Southwest Human Development, an agency committed to providing Arizona’s children the best start in life, was welcomed as Educare Arizona’s program provider, ensuring a highly trained teaching and family support staff for the school.
On September 6, 2011, Educare Arizona opened its doors to serve up to 191 infants, toddlers, and children and their families, exemplifying best practices in early childhood education and development throughout the state. Educare Arizona was the thirteenth school to open in the Educare Learning Network and the first Educare school in the southwest.
Thanks to The Ibis Foundation of Arizona’s leadership, Educare Arizona also has a unique, onsite health clinic: the Balsz Educare Arizona Center for Health (BEACH). BEACH partners with Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH) to provide quality medical, dental, and behavioral health services to Educare Arizona children and families, as well as the surrounding Balsz community.