The Albright Child Development Center was established in 1974 as a model preschool and kindergarten for children ages three to six. It was opened on the lower level of Mohn Hall, and only open during the school year for a small group of children. Created as a lab school for Albright College students, the center has always had a responsibility to provide and model the most current early education practices. Marian Birdsall, Ph.D., professor in the Human Ecology Department, was the first executive director of the center. She remained in that position until 1990.
The center has offered preschool, kindergarten, and summer programs to the Albright community and Berks County residents throughout its years of operation. Although hours of operation and programs have changed throughout the years, the present hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the center is open year round.
Birdsall encouraged the staff to pursue accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1988. NAEYC is the largest and most widely recognized accreditation system for all types of early childhood schools. The center meets the criteria for high quality Early Childhood Programs according to NAEYC. The school has continued to meet the requirements and has achieved re-accreditation every four years since 1988.
The center, under the direction of Rodney Warfield, Ed.D., professor of education, moved to its present location at 3040 Kutztown Road in 2003. The program was expanded to include special education and early intervention programs. Autistic support and emotional support classrooms were added to offer alternative programs for school age children. Early childhood programs were also expanded to include infant and toddler care in 2003.
The school presently enrolls children ages six weeks to six years of age. The program includes infant and toddler care, preschool programs, and a full-day kindergarten. Children can attend full time or part time throughout the year.
In February 2008, the Albright Learning Center began a relationship with the Hildebrandt Learning Centers. The center is now being managed by Hildebrandt, which is located in Dallas, Pa. Hildebrandt offers support to the director and staff, and offers guidance in all operational aspects. As a part of this change in management, Laura Heckart, MS ED was promoted as a classroom teacher to lead the Center in the role of Director.
A summer school age program is also offered. It is held on the Albright College campus. This program is open to children who have completed kindergarten through children who have completed grade six.
The Albright Learning Center is affiliated with the Education Department at Albright College.
Students from the College participate in activities at the center, including work study students. We have had approximately 100 students involved at this site in the past year.
The school presently enrolls 105 families.
The school is accredited by NAEYC, has achieved a four-star rating from the Keystone Stars initiative in Pennsylvania, and our Kindergarten holds a Private Academic School license from the Department of Education.
We participate in the Foster Grandparent Program through Berks County's Office of Aging. This is an intergenerational program where senior citizens are able to volunteer their time at the Center.
Highly qualified staff meeting NAEYC requirements.