TPS Opens Tulsa's Third Educare School

Wednesday, October 24th 2012, 4:43 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa is now the first and only city in the country with three Educare schools.

The school provides early childhood learning for low-income families, in hopes of ending the poverty cycle through education.

Wednesday was the grand opening of Tulsa's third Educare school near 21st and Sheridan.

Educare's private and public partners say research shows the program works in Oklahoma, where the poverty rate is 65 percent.

In an environment where form follows function and spontaneous play is encouraged, children in Tulsa's Educare are constantly learning and may not even realize it.

That's the premise of Educare.

Studies show, the earlier a child enters the program, the more likely they are to succeed in Tulsa Public Schools, which is important, since recent reading scores for TPS showed most elementary students - 62% - are below grade level.

10/23/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Public Schools Vow To Tackle Dismal Reading Scores

"Our job really is to prepare kids before they get to kindergarten, because research shows if a child enters kindergarten behind, they never catch up," said Caren Calhoun, Tulsa's Educare Executive Director.

Tulsa's newest Educare is 38,000 square feet with 16 classrooms that serve 164 low-income children between six weeks and five years of age.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation is the main benefactor of Educare.

"Investments in high quality education are not just morally correct, but actually pay a dividend in lower costs for special education and corrections, and through a more productive workforce," said George Kaiser, at Wednesday's grand opening ceremony.

4/12/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Educare Showcases Services Available To Families

The primary goal of Educare is to break the cycle of poverty through education.

Ana Lopez dropped out of high school to have her son.

Educare is helping her get back on track.

"I really want to finish school, so I can be a good example for my child, because nobody in my family was able to go to school because they didn't have the money," Lopez.

The program takes a holistic approach and focuses on physical and mental health, early intervention for the child as well as several family programs that encourage parents to become self-sufficient and set an example.

Tulsa's Educare still has openings for students and staff. Check here for more information.

This third Educare site makes Oklahoma the only state in the country with four of the schools.