Pennsylvania Early Learning keys to QualityThe NW Regional Key collaborates with regional early learning and school-age partners to support positive outcomes for children.

Pre K Counts is an initiative to build and strengthen pre-kindergarten partnerships.

United Way of Erie plays a unique role both as a leader in the health/human services sector.

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Accredited Under the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations’ Standards for Excellence®

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!

COVID-19 SAFETY

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!

ERIEBANK presented scholarship funds to Early Connections to help more children gain access to high quality preschool education. Thank you ERIEBANK for your investment in early learning.
Pictured L to R: Darlene E. Kovacs (Executive Director, Early Connections); Katie Jones (VP/Market Manager, ERIEBANK); Kimberly Beers (VP Outreach, Early Connections); John VanTassel (Treasury Management, ERIEBANK)

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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 mheslop@earlyconnectionserie.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

Thank you,

Darlene E. Kovacs

Executive Director

Thank you for your support on Erie Gives Day!

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

#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. 

Here is how you can help: We are asking you to become an Early Connections Hero on GivingTuesday and consider to give – even a small donation will help:
https://now.firespring.com/nonprofits/early-connections-inc


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.

https://www.yumpu.com/s/3M0RmqciB1SGuJwd

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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

Highlights


We celebrated the 100th day of school in North East today! They did an activity with yummy snacks, but apparently they aren’t really 100 years old!


The Erie Police Dept. visited our John E. Horan Garden Apartments Center recently. They read a story and gave out toys, blankets, hats and gloves to our children. Thanks so much for the visit!

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.

Pictured from right to left:  Emily Matson, WICU-TV; Darlene Kovacs, Executive Director, Early Connections; Amanda Post, WICU-12; Michelle Harkins, Associate Executive Director, Early Connections

Early Connections staff had a great time making Elmo faces with children during Elmo’s visit to the Erie Art Museum during Celebrate Erie.
We got to have our picture taken with Elmo!

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!

Kindergarten Transition

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.

Testimonials

Thank You

VINYL PALOOZA 4.0

Early Connections Extends It’s Sincere Appreciation to the Following Sponsors: 

Diamond Sponsors

Kiwanis Club of Erie
The Plazony Family Foundation
Times Publishing Company
The Sunflower Club

Platinum Sponsors

Erie Bank
Presque Isle Downs & Casino

Gold Sponsors

Rep. Flo and Vicki Fabrizio
Rep. Pat and Michelle Harkins
Dr. Paul and Darlene Kovacs
Mike and LeeAnn Thomas

Chartbusters Sponsors

Lori Hetrick
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 supportMoose Lodge donation 1-2017s 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.UPMC-NAP donation for curriculum check presentation Jan 2018
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.


 

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Thank you to everyone who donated so generously on Erie Gives Day to help Early Connections improve our playgrounds!


 

Annual Reports

Early Connections Annual Report
2016-2017

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.

Front cover - Early Connections Annual Report 2016-2017

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.

Previous reports:

2015-2016

Early Connections 2014 Annual Report (part 1)

Early Connections 2014 Annual Report (part 2)