By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Rainbow Fleet Early Education Center, a new preschool and child care center, is scheduled to open in September. As part of Oklahoma City Public Schools’ Pathway to Greatness reorganization, the center will occupy half of Horace Mann Elementary and feature research-based practices including Montessori pedagogy.
Located at 1105 NW 45th Street, the Rainbow Fleet Early Education Center is now accepting enrollment applications for ages 6 weeks up to 4 years of age. The facility will be available for child care from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
According to Dr. Laura Wilhelm, Rainbow Fleet Early Education Center director, quality, affordable child care is an important metric in livable community assessments,
“We are thrilled to announce that Rainbow Fleet Early Education Center will serve the community as a source for high quality child care,” said Dr. Wilhelm. “Early childhood education will be offered in our bright, beautifully-renovated space. In keeping with our mission, the center will help meet a need for child care in Oklahoma City and enhance quality of life for children, parents and families.”
Wilhelm holds a doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction, specializing in early childhood education from Oklahoma State University (OSU) with undergraduate degrees early childhood education. With more than 30 years of teaching experience, she has been an associate professor at Oklahoma City University since 2013.
Along with her experience teaching young children from birth through third grade, Wilhelm has taught elementary school in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Lawton, and Austin Texas and served as director the Child Development Lab at OSU.
The Rainbow Fleet Early Education Center will be available to help parents that have been struggling with closures at hundreds of child care providers since March.
All Rainbow Fleet lead teachers will be degreed professionals with a background in early childhood education or a related field, stated the center’s press release. The site will also serve as a laboratory school for college interns from family studies and early childhood education programs.
“Discovery, investigation, creativity, and problem solving opportunities are vital aspects of playful learning,” said Wilhelm. “Our staff will consist of highly skilled child development experts to create an optimal environment where children play, learn, and grow.”
The Resource Center will serve 116 young children, offering dedicated play spaces, outdoor facilities for exploration and planned learning activities. The center is stocked with developmentally appropriate toys, books and games.
Funding for the Rainbow Fleet Early Education was made possible by the Inasmuch Foundation. Sponsorships are still available for additional community partnerships. The Center will accept child care subsidy from the Oklahoma Department of Human Serves.
Parents and job applicants can apply online at rainbowfleet.org/early-education-center.
Rainbow Fleet Early Education Center is high-quality child care center inspired by Maria Montessori, Loris Malaguzzi and other best practices, dedicated to providing excellence in child care during the first five critical years of life.
Since 1972, Rainbow Fleet has been serving children, families, child care professionals and communities in central Oklahoma. The Center will provide innovative child development programs and services that enhance the quality of life for residents in Oklahoma and Cleveland Counties.
Rainbow Fleet Early Education Center is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
The Center’s opening date will be announced soon. For more information about enrollment costs and structure, visit rainbowfleet.org, call 405-521-1426 or (español) 405-525-8783.