News and Events
Funding Assistance for Infant Toddler Care
Early Connections wants to share great news with parents of infants and toddlers! We have funded spots available in some of our centers for qualifying children under age 3, through the Infant Toddler Contracted Slots program. This provides your child with an opportunity for a high-quality child care and early education experience at no cost to you if you meet program requirements. There are several toddler spots available right now at our City Center location!
Please call the Early Learning Resource Center at 836-5898 and ask for more information about Infant Toddler Contracted Slots, or call City Center directly at 456-4576 – act quickly because available spots will fill soon!
Early Connections takes COVID-19 and the safety of our children, families, and staff very seriously. We are following all protocols published by the CDC and Department of Human Services, and we are cleaning and disinfecting centers throughout the day.
In the event someone at your child’s center tests positive for COVID, we will notify you promptly.
Under certain specific circumstances, we are required to shut down the center for 2 days for disinfecting. If this happens, we will notify you immediately and keep you updated about reopening the center.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this difficult time.
Investing in Early Learning!
Pre-K Counts Classes
Dear PreK Counts Families,
We’re sharing some information with you in case you haven’t yet decided whether or not your child will return to Early Connections for this year’s PKC program.
Yes, you can decide to have your child attend Early Connections for PKC – we have a strict protocol in place, including taking temperatures, wearing masks, frequent handwashing, and sanitizing/disinfecting classrooms and materials. We are making it as safe as we possibly can so that everyone stays healthy!
If you decide you do not want your child in a classroom yet, but you do want him/her to have the benefits of PKC, we also offer a remote option!
- All PKC children who are participating remotely will receive a packet every 2 weeks. You can pick this up, or request that it be mailed to you. The packet will contain 10 activities for you and your child to do together, and thanks to Hooked on Books, there will also be a book for each child to keep.
- In addition, if your family has internet access, there will also be information provided by your child’s teacher to link you and your child with an activity every day. You’ll have the opportunity to communicate with the teacher, and to post photos or videos of your child enjoying the activity!
If you’re not ready to decide yet, please contact Early Connections for more information to help you make the best decision for your family:
City Center, 704 State Street, 814-456-4576
North East, 50 East Division Street, North East, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Union City, 16380 Rte 8, Union City, 814-438-7016
John E. Horan Garden Apartments, 730 Tacoma Road, 814-454-9713
Harbor Homes, 1841 East 18th Street, 814-899-3310
Darlene E. Kovacs
NEW PLAYGROUND FENCE AT CITY CENTER
Installation of City Center’s new playground fence last week was made possible through the generous support of the Erie Community Foundation. Thank you for helping us improve the safety and appearance of our playground!
#GivingTuesdayNow is underway, a global day of giving and unity created as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. We are asking for your support to help us purchase personal protection equipment and thermometers now needed at our centers due to COVID-19.
Dine & Donate Event to Benefit Early Connections
Ready for some BBQ? During the week of February 24th – 29th you can enjoy some delicious, authentic Texas barbeque at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit while showing your support for Early Connections. Simply present a copy of the flyer at the time of checkout, then place your receipt in the designated donation box. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit will donate 10% of the sales to Early Connections. Dine in or carry out ALL WEEK LONG.
*Online orders cannot be counted towards donations. Flyer must be presented at time of purchase. No cell phone pictures of flyer will be accepted.
Early Connections Annual Report
We are pleased to present to you our 2018-2019 annual report highlighting Early Connections’ work throughout the past year. We continue to inspire the hearts and minds of children in our community through our high quality programming and community connections. We hope you will take a few minutes to learn more about Early Connections and join us in our efforts to provide Erie County children with a quality early learning experience.
Winners of the TACO WARS Fundraising Event
Thank you to everyone who came out in support of our Taco Wars fundraising event! Eight local chefs competed in three categories – Best Taco, Judge’s Choice, and Taco with a Twist.
- Best Taco – Lavery Brewing Company
- Judge’s Choice – The Cork 1794
- Taco with a Twist – Molly Brannigans
LEAP Science Family Engagement Event at City Center
City Center hosted a LEAP Science Family Engagement Event on October 29th. Children enrolled in our Pre-K Counts program and their families had a fun time experimenting and learning about air and wind.
Thank you WICU-12 for your continued partnership
We are thankful for WICU 12 for donating $2,500 to the Erie’s Future Fund Scholarship Program. Partner donations ensure that quality preschool scholarships are available to Erie County children up to two years prior to kindergarten. Erie’s Future Fund Scholarship Program is administered by Early Connections.
We Love to Read!
Early Connections Summer Campers stopped by United Way’s Little Free Library recently! Each pre-K child was paired with an older buddy to help with picking out their favorite book! We even had some curbside read aloud time!
Pre-K students from each of our Early Connections centers that will be attending kindergarten in the Fall visited Lincoln Elementary School as part of our transition to Kindergarten program. It was a great experience and lots of fun. Thank you to all that helped make this possible!!!
Preschool Art Show
Children at our West Side proudly showed off their art work to their families. Every imaginable surface was used to display the large variety of art creations the children made for their spring Art Show.
Exploring the Arts with NAMI of Erie County
Sixty preschoolers from City Center and West Side attended Exploring the Arts with NAMI of Erie County in April at the expERIEnce Children’s Museum. The children explored the museum and made maracas for a sing/play-a-long with Lori Burke. Exploring Arts with Nam focuses on how art and creativity can positively affect mental health and wellness
Creative Dance with Hula Hoops
Professional Hoop Dancer Jennifer Dennehy did creative dance, hoop dance and hoop making with City Center school age children during her residency at City Center this spring. The children created their own hoops and hosted performances for their parents and other classrooms.
- “I know they have my children’s best interest at heart.”
- “They really show individual attention to all the children.”
- “They come home tired and full of stories of what they’ve learned”
- “My son has attended Early Connections in Union City since Preschool. I still remember the
- It’s Clear She’s Learning
- Caring, Nurturing Staff – I Will Always Remain Grateful
- Thank You!
- All the Good Things She’s Learned
- Teachers are Friendly
- Clean, Happy Environment
VINYL PALOOZA 4.0
Early Connections Extends It’s Sincere Appreciation to the Following Sponsors:
Kiwanis Club of Erie
The Plazony Family Foundation
Times Publishing Company
The Sunflower Club
Presque Isle Downs & Casino
Rep. Flo and Vicki Fabrizio
Rep. Pat and Michelle Harkins
Dr. Paul and Darlene Kovacs
Mike and LeeAnn Thomas
Sean and Kimberly Beers
Thank You! East Erie Moose Lodge #593
Early Connections, Inc. is thankful to the East Erie Moose Lodge #593 for their donation of $500. The Moose Lodge supports family-friendly causes throughout the community. From left to right: Michelle Harkins, Associate Executive Director, Early Connections; Craig Westover, East Erie Moose Lodge Governor, and Stephanie King, Director of Early Connections West Side. Thank you Moose Board and Members!
Thank you! UPMC Health Plan
Early Connections is very thankful to their partners, UPMC Health Plan, for donating $40,000 through the Neighborhood Assistance Program. This funding will be used to provide high-quality curriculum in each of the Early Connections classrooms throughout Erie County, delivering the best early learning opportunities for children to become better prepared for success in school, and life.
Pictured (L-R): Darlene Kovacs, Executive Director, Early Connections; Jenny Weigold Geertson, Senior Manager, Regional Community Relations and Marketing Operations, UPMC Health Plan; Michelle Harkins, Associate Executive Director, Early Connections.
Thank you to everyone who donated so generously on Erie Gives Day to help Early Connections improve our playgrounds!
Early Connections Annual Report
Creating Lifelong Learners, One Child at a Time
Early Connections is pleased to present the information in this annual report to the community. We remain committed to our mission, providing leadership, advocacy, and quality programs in early care and education. We believe this represents the best means to assist young children and their families, giving young learners the enthusiasm and tools to succeed in their future education.
We work closely with our community partners to continually increase children’s access to quality early learning, and to provide an increasingly-diverse community of learners with multiple opportunities and means to explore new information, skills, and ideas.
In this report, we highlight Early Connections’ work during the 2016-2017 year within our organization and with our many community partners and supporters. We continue to work for Erie County’s future by inspiring children’s love of learning and by connecting with families to ensure their children’s success.