The Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (LCCTC) and the Bright Horizons Mount Joy Early Learning Center seeks to shape the future in two ways. We are committed to maintaining a vibrant and engaging daycare programs for the infants, toddlers, and preschool children in our care. We also provide a real-world classroom for students in the Lancaster County CTC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) program.
The emergent curriculum offered at the Mount Joy Early Learning Center allows teachers to design projects unique to the children in their classroom. A successful emergent curriculum approach means that teachers thoughtfully plan the environment, offering many visible choices, based on the children’s skills and needs. Teachers conduct observations and plan based on their observations of children. Teachers practicing emergent curriculum also utilize reflective practice, taking time to reflect and act on their observations of children.
There is a mutual relationship between the ECE students and the children attending the Mount Joy Early Learning Center.
The ECE students are invaluable allies to the management of the joyful energy of the Mount Joy Early Learning Center. The ECE student teachers complete their student teaching requirements and learn to apply the classroom management techniques and the behavior development and social development skills that they learn in the ECE program. Meanwhile, the children who attend the daycare get energetic, enthusiastic caregivers who are being trained in the most modern childcare methods.
The partnership between the Lancaster County CTC and the Mount Joy Early Learning Center even goes beyond its doors. The Early Learning Center is physically connected to the LCCTC’s Mount Joy campus. Hilary Cameron, Regional Director for Bright Horizons, said that throughout the year, some of the LCCTC’s other career and trade programs become involved in programs that bring diversity and engagement to the children.
Bright Horizons staff serve as guest lecturers for ECE students, presenting on a variety of topics such as positive guidance, how to document children’s learning, and more. LCCTC advisors have the following Bright Horizons expertise and resources available to them when preparing their students for employment after graduation:
- Resume-building workshops and practice interviews.
- Access to Bright Horizons Talent Acquisition for job opportunities.
- National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) testing support.
- Members of the center’s leadership team attend the LCCTC Occupational Advisory Committee meetings to share insights on trends and developments in our field so the instructors and students are always aware of the current state of the field.
- Bright Horizons’ staff often serve as judges in skills competitions where the students must demonstrate their ECE knowledge.
Cameron said that other LCCTC students studying a range of subjects gain real-life experience at the childcare center. She explained saying Construction students helped build picnic tables, garden boxes, benches, mud kitchens, etc. for the classrooms and playgrounds. Culinary students helped design a Cooking Club for the children. Some of the foods they made with the children were made from vegetables from in the playground gardens. LCCTC Welding students worked with the children to build robots and other projects.
“It is that engagement, those relationships, that really make the Mount Joy Early Learning Center unique in the region,” Cameron said.
Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool
Mount Joy Early Learning Center on the Lancaster County CTC campus is operated by Bright Horizons Early Education and Preschool. Children from Lancaster County, from infants through pre-kindergarten, are welcome at the center.
Bright Horizons is known for its high quality child care centers and has been providing high quality child care around the globe for more than 30 years. They have built a reputation on their HEART Principles of honesty, excellence, accountability, respect, and teamwork. They promote these principles in everything they do, including their relationships with families, clients like the CTC, and the local communities.
Bright Horizons has been recognized nationally and regionally as an employer of choice. They have been one of FORTUNE’s 100 Companies to Work for 18 times, and in 2019 received the following recognitions:
- Best Workplaces for Women, FORTUNE
- Best Workplaces for Diversity, FORTUNE
- Corporate Equality Index, Human Rights Commission
- Certified Age Friendly Employer, Age Friendly Foundation
- Best Environmental, Social & Governance Companies, Investor’s Business Daily
- Companies That Care Honor Roll, Center for Companies That Care
- Gender Equality Index, Bloomberg
- Training Top 125, Training Magazine
With early childhood education at the very core of Bright Horizons:
- Is a member of the Partnership for a Heathier America
- Has more than 3,000 employee-graduates of the eCDA, a program that allows employees to earn their Child Development Associate credential online
- Supports NAEYC’s “Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education” Initiative
Bright Horizons is also invested in the local community. The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children is a nonprofit organization focused on brightening the lives of children, youth, and families in crisis. The Foundation supports a range of programs that serve children and families through volunteers, grants, and resources. The signature program, Bright Spaces®, creates and supports play areas that brighten the lives of homeless children and families in crisis, serves more than 130,000 homeless children each year. Within the city of Philadelphia, there are 16 Bright Spaces within homeless shelter. In total, there are nearly 25 Bright Spaces in Pennsylvania. The parents and staff at Mount Joy Early Learning Center have held two fundraisers in recent years to support the Safe Berks Bright Space in Reading, PA.
Accreditation and Clearances
Since 2012, the learning center has been accredited by The National Association of Young Children (NAEYC), a national organization that advocates for early childhood education. NAEYC accreditation is extremely rigorous and is recognized as one of the leading standards for early childhood learning in the world. NAEYC considers 10 areas of program standards when assessing and accrediting programs: relationships, curriculum, teaching, health and safety, assessment of child progress, teacher qualifications, family and community relationships, physical environment, and leadership management.
From the NAEYC website, “NAEYC Accreditation helps families recognize quality early learning programs and feel comfortable knowing that their children are receiving a high-quality, research-based education that will prepare them for future success. NAEYC Accreditation offers programs access to continuous quality improvement, the latest research on best practices, training, technical assistance, visibility on family-focused search engines (including NAEYC’s own program search database), and much more.
All personnel who have contact with children at the Bright Horizons Mount Joy Early Learning Center have full local, state, and FBI clearances.
Dr. Michael Curley, the LCCTC Administrative Director in 2002, made the concept and construction of a daycare facility on location at the Mount Joy campus a priority and long-term goal.
“At the time, the Early Childcare Education daycare was in a church in Lancaster. We wanted to build something that could better serve our ECE students and the families in the region,” Dr. Curley said.
The Lancaster County Career & Technology Foundation was established in 2003 and the daycare facility became one of its first projects. The Foundation initiated a capital campaign to raise funds and build the center. The LCCTC and the Foundation worked with the United Way and the Lancaster County Community Foundation for donated funds and with the state for available grants and tax credits.
“The LCCT Foundation raised approximately $1 Million for the capital campaign,” former LCCT Foundation Board Member Anthony Gillespie said.
Plans were developed and contractors hired to build the shell of the facility and the LCCTC students finished it, running electrical cable, setting the plumbing, hanging the drywall, etc. Toward the end of construction, even the LCCTC Administrative Team chipped in to get the facility ready for the first class.
“As we were getting closer to a deadline with the facility, I restructured an administrators’ meeting that I had scheduled. I had everyone dress in hands-on work clothes and meet up at the facility to help paint! Our efforts might not have looked as good as the work our students did, but we helped get the daycare done on time,” Dr. Curley said.
The childcare center opened on site at the LCCTC Mount Joy campus in 2006 as Lancaster Early Childhood Training Institute, managed by Hildebrandt Learning Centers. Two years later, the center enrolled in the Keystone STARS quality rating and improvement system. That same year, the center was renamed the Dr. Michael Curley Early Childhood Training Institute to honor the former Administrative Director of the LCCTC. Bright Horizons acquired Hildebrant Learning Centers in 2015 and has managed the child care center since 2015 under the name Mount Joy Early Learning Center since then.
Gillespie said that the LCCT Foundation provides scholarship funds for at-need families of the pre-Kindergarten children.
“There was one instance I recall where the Foundation provided a childcare scholarship at the Mount Joy Learning Center for the child of a woman who enrolled in the Lancaster County CTC’s Practical Nursing Program. The support that the family received through the childcare scholarship, in a very real sense, allowed the mother to get her education at the LCCTC, and improve the family’s overall income and wellbeing,” Gillespie said.