'Educare has been a lifesaver for my family'

Sometimes three-year-old Línda Manzo cries on Saturday mornings when she’s told she won’t be going to Educare Lincoln that day.

“I tell her no, it’s Saturday, there’s no school on Saturday,” said her laughing mother, Angel Manzo, before turning more serious.

“Educare has been a lifesaver for my family.”

That was just one of many powerful stories shared Wednesday at an event hosted by Educare Lincoln, located adjacent to Belmont Elementary School at 3435 N. 14th St. The open house and community reception featured tours of the facility, live entertainment and demonstrations, as well as plenty of opportunities for visitors to learn more about Educare’s work to offer high-quality, data-driven learning opportunities to students from birth to age five.

The event was part of the multi-day Educare Learning Network meeting hosted by Educare Lincoln. The meeting brought together roughly 300 early childhood education leaders from across the country for three days of collaboration and presentations.

Educare Lincoln is a partnership between Lincoln Public Schools, the University of Nebraska and the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. It’s part of a network of 24 Educare schools across the country.

Educare Lincoln Interim Executive Director Michelle Phillips said the three-day meeting, including Wednesday’s event, was a tremendous learning opportunity for everyone involved.

“Bringing educators throughout the network into Lincoln allows for great opportunities to collectively engage in discussions about early childhood practices and policies,” she said. “We’ve spent time learning about best practices that focus on instruction, family engagement and partnering within the community.”

Educare Lincoln currently serves 158 children. It’s designed to support parents who are working or in school and need full-day, year-round care and education for their children. Educare Lincoln’s goal is to help children grow up safe, healthy and eager to learn. The school’s close partnership with parents provides children with opportunities that foster their social, emotional, behavioral and intellectual development.

“They’re in an environment where they’re constantly learning,” Manzo said. “And it’s great for parents who work full time and maybe can’t afford an in-home daycare.

“We just love it here.”

More about Educare Lincoln:

  • Approximately 10 percent of Educare Lincoln’s children are verified with a disability. Educare Lincoln contracts with LPS to deliver special education services to these children.
  • 57 percent of Educare Lincoln’s parents are born outside the United States and come from 18 different countries. Among them: Cameroon, Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Mexico, Nigeria, El Salvador and South Sudan.
  • 13 percent of students also were born out of the country.
  • Educare Lincoln employs several Spanish- and Arabic-speaking staff members. Approximately half its families speak English as their first language, while 25 percent speak Spanish as their first language. The remaining 25 percent speak other languages in their home, many of them Arabic.

Published: April 17, 2019, Updated: April 18, 2019