History

Since our conception over a century ago, we have been committed to improving the lives of children, their families, and the neighborhoods in which they live. Join us in continuing to transform lives, one child, at a time. Who knows the heights we can achieve in another 100 years.

Telling the Story of Our Tradition of Excellence

In December of 1886, a meeting was held in the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church to discuss plans and purposes relating to the organization of a society, “whose object should be to extend a helping hand and genuine Christian home to those of our toiling sisters, dependent upon their own exertion for their daily bread.”

On January 23, 1887, Columbus Early Learning Centers welcomed their very first students. After months of planning by dedicated members of the Columbus community, a one-room nursery was established to serve low-income families at the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union at 65 South Fourth Street to fulfill the stated purpose of the “advancement of working women.” A day nursery allowed mothers to work and older siblings to attend school, while the youngest members of their families spent the day in a safe and stable environment. At the end of the first year, the daily average at our nursery was five children and tuition per child was a mere five cents per day. Among the oldest early care and education programs in the country, we continue to be devoted to nurturing and educating young children of low-income families.

Today we continue this tradition of affordable access to high-quality early childhood education. Our long history has strategically positioned us to address the lack of access to early learning opportunities in Columbus. Our services have strengthened the lives of thousands of children and families in our community.

*The information quoted in this section comes from a report regarding CELC’s history up to 1962. If you would like to read the full report, please contact us at info@columbusearlylearning.org.

Our Team

Our founders believed that by supporting the child within the context of their family we could create thriving communities. Today we continue their work.