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New preschool option for St Paul’s East Side coming with Lutheran Social Service Early Learning Center

Work is now underway to ready the new Lutheran Social Service Early Learning Center-East Side to open its doors to young learners this September.


It will provide underserved families with children between the ages of two and five a new option for affordable, high-quality preschool and child care, right in their neighborhood


“This is not your average preschool or child care center. We will offer special support for children who come from homes where there is stress,” said Gabe Morcomb, early learning cnter director. “We know that early intervention has

long-lasting educational and quality-of-life impact.”


The program will offer an individualized learning plan for each child and a five-to-one student-teacher ratio; in most preschools and childcare centers, that ratio is more like ten-to-one.


“In addition to academics, teaching the alphabet and their 1-2-3’s, we will give them the skills that need to be developed before kindergarten,” Morcomb said. “We work on social and emotional learning and promote regulation to help them find their calm and equip them to be ready to be learners.”


The Early Learning Center-East Side will be open weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to accommodate the schedules of working parents. The program will be affordable to East Side families. Most will qualify for federal or state scholarships or child care assistance. In addition, transportation subsidies will be available to some families.


Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota already operates an Early Learning Center in St Paul’s Frogtown-Rondo neighborhood. Both Lutheran Social Service preschool programs embrace what Morcomb calls “a two-generation approach,” aimed at connecting entire families to other resources offered through LSS.


“We walk with parents and bring families to whatever they need—employment and financial counseling, help with housing. If we can reduce household stress, we can expand the parenting capacity in the family unit,” she said. “We are here to provide child care that helps a family thrive, not just survive.”


Parents who are interested in the Early Learning Center-East Side can go to to begin the enrollment process.


Lutheran Social Service is also recruiting teachers and other child care workers for the program and hopes to fill the staff roster with East Side residents who want to work with young children.


“If we find community members who want to do the work but may not meet the

qualifications required, we have partnered with our employment services to create a pathway so they can get paid and get their training while working,” Morcomb said.


Those interested in applying to work at the center can send an email to


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