It’s safe to say that for the team at ESD 112’s Early Care and Education child care program, it’s been a year unlike any other. As businesses and community services open back up throughout Southwest Washington, so too has child care. For the dedicated care providers and teachers in the Early Care and Education (ECE) program, welcoming children back into the classroom is truly a joyous occasion.

“That’s why we all work here; we want to see those little faces and give them the loves,” explained Heather Anderson, Director of ECE’s Hough Early Learning Center in Vancouver. “We came back and it was about two weeks to set back up and get everything going before we welcomed the families back in. “That first day when we all came back it just felt like coming home — like it was where we were supposed to be and what was supposed to be happening,” she added.

The program is now enrolling children ages 5 and under in a variety of child care programs including Early Head Start and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP).

Each child care location is utilizing a number of daily health measures to ensure safety, including temperature checks and frequent hand washing. This is, of course, in addition to daily nutritional, health and educational services that help every child to be prepared for school.

“The children do thrive when they come here. They are getting those next steps met before kindergarten,” said Lisa MacDonald, Director of ECE’s Early Learning Center in Vancouver’s Minnehaha neighborhood. “The attention that they get from the teachers knowing where they are at developmentally is very helpful.”

To find out if your family qualifies for one these programs, call 360-952-3466. For more information, visit Early Care & Education online at