CCSD Office of Early Learning Expands Services for Children with New Center on East Side

ELC EastOn May 2, the Clarke County School District Early Head Start program’s youngest students took their first steps into school at the recently-renovated Early Learning Center East at 280 Gaines School Rd. in Athens. 

The opening of the ELC East will help CCSD improve access to comprehensive school readiness programming for families living in and around East Athens. The space became available with the relocation of district staff to the new district offices at 595 Prince Ave. in January. Over the last several months, the district’s construction contractor has been at work on the $1 million renovation project. 

Six Early Head Start classrooms are currently open, and, beginning in August, the 39,100-square-foot facility will house 16 additional classrooms for Early Head Start, Head Start 3-year olds, pre-K, and preschool programming for children with special needs, ranging from 2 months old to age 5. 

For more information about how to apply for services at the Early Learning Center East or at the H.T. Edwards Early Learning Center on Dearing Extension, visit the “Registration” link under the “For Families” tab on the CCSD website, or click here

  • Pre-K applications are accepted year round.  Following the early registration lottery in February, Pre-K registration for the remaining seats is on a first come first seated basis. (Prospective pre-K students for the 2022-23 school year must be 4 years old by Sept 1, 2022.)
  • Early Head Start (EHS) and Head Start (HS) are accepted year round, and the program maintains a growing waiting list. 
  • The EHS/HS waiting list is rank-ordered, based on demonstrated need via the selection criteria.
  • Parents can prioritize their preference for services at the east and west locations, as well as for home-based services and for prenatal services. 

Eligibility for Early Head Start and Head Start is based on family income being at or below the poverty level. Children in foster care, children experiencing homelessness, and children from families receiving public assistance — such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — are eligible regardless of income.

Early Head Start and Head Start services are funded by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Pre-K services are funded by a grant from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.