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Early Learning Center

For over 35 years, the Early Learning Center has been educating the youngest Bulldogs.

The Early Learning Center was the first, and remains the only center in the in the Mecosta-Osceola School district, to receive national accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

The Early Learning Center also participates in the Great Start to Quality’s Star Rating system, including ongoing participation in CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System), which measures the quality of the experiences the children receive in their daily routines.


Baby Brutus

Our professional, degreed teaching staff is dedicated to instilling a love of learning while developing nurturing connections with all children and families. The Early Learning Center has a full-time Family Support Specialist who assists families with networking opportunities and connecting families to each other and services they may need. We also have on staff an Early Childhood Specialist to coach, mentor, and support the teaching staff in their instruction practices.

Our teaching staff are trained and certified in both the High Scope Curriculum and the Child Assessment Record (COR) system. Each family receives access to their child’s portfolio and the Brightwheel communication platform – free of charge.

All of our families qualify to receive two meals and one snack in accordance with the Michigan Child and Adult Care Food Program (MCACFP). Meals and snacks are prepared on site by our full-time Food Service Coordinator and are free of charge to families.

The Early Learning Center collaborates with the Early Childhood Education academic program to provide hands-on practicum and lab experiences for FSU students pursuing a degree in early childhood education. The early childhood students are supervised by a faculty instructors while receiving real-world experience within our classrooms

Why Choose the Early Learning Center

  • Priority enrollment for Ferris State University students
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) subsidy for Pell-eligible students
  • Secured Entrance to ensure only approved families, children, staff and visitors are allowed access to the center at all times
  • NAEYC Accredited Program 
  • Professional full-time degreed teaching staff
  • On-going professional development opportunities for teaching staff and support staff
  • Formal researched-based curriculum for all age groups 
  • Early Childhood Specialist –provides coaching, mentorship, and support to teachers
  • Family Support Specialist –provides resources, and support to children, families, and teachers
  • Small class sizes
  • Low child-to-adult ratios
  • Brightwheel: parent app allows families and teachers to communicate in real-time regarding each child’s daily routines and activities
  • Parent Portal: for up-to-date progress on child’s portfolio through COR Assessment 
  • Private Facebook groups: ELC Family page and Single Parent Support page where families can communicate, ask questions receive resources, view lesson plans and newsletters.
  • Nutritious: meals prepared on site each day by Food Service Coordinator
  • A spacious outdoor environment designed to provide children opportunities for exploration, investigation, discovery, and physical activities
  • The University campus provides many opportunities for nature walks, field trips, and special visitors
  • Certified Car Seat technician on staff
  • Partnership with Great Start to Readiness program
  • Sleep Sacks: provided for all infants in a variety of sizes and materials
  • Newton Baby crib mattresses: the newest technology in infant crib mattresses provides breathable fully washable comfort to improve infant sleep
  • Oaki one-piece outdoor suits provided to all children over 12 months free of charge 
  • Similac Advance iron fortified baby formula provided free of charge to children under 12 months

Food Services

All meals and snacks at the Early Learning Center are planned and prepared by our Food Service Coordinator in accordance with the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program guidelines. Our full-time Food Service Coordinator receives on-going training in the Child and Adult Care Food Program requirements as well as being ServSafe certified.

All meals meet or exceed the requirements of the Michigan Child and Adult Care Food Program. The menus are planned in a 6- week rotation seasonally. The current week’s menu is posted on the Menu Bulletin Board located at the security entrance and on the private ELC Facebook page.

Per the MFACFP we are required have written permission from your child’s physician to serve any milk or food substitution.

Meals and snacks are served at the time indicated on the classrooms daily schedule (except infants). Please be aware of these times to ensure that your child is in attendance to receive meals and snacks.

We do not allow outside food or drink in the center. However, if you would like to bring a special “treat” to your child’s class for their birthday or special occasion please speak with your child’s teacher to check on food allergies or other restrictions that may be necessary in the classroom. Allowable “treats” must be commercially prepared packaged foods and must be in factory-sealed containers with the labels intact.

The following is a list of foods that are not offered to children under the age of four years: hot dogs, grapes, nuts, popcorn, raw peas, hard pretzels, spoonfuls of peanut butter, or chunks of raw carrots. We only service 100% juice at the center, and infants are limited to no more than four ounces per child daily.