BALTIMORE, January 4, 2023– Kennedy Krieger Institute plans to open an innovative early childhood learning center in Northwest Baltimore City/County to provide a comprehensive, family-centered education for children ages 3 to 5. The center, which will serve as a model for educators across the nation, is slated to open in July 2023.
Kennedy Krieger Integrated Early Learning Center will provide full-day, year-round education for up to 40 children from Baltimore’s under-served communities. Students will learn in an inclusive, blended environment that encompasses the classroom needs of typically developing children as well as children with neurodiverse needs.
In addition to improving learning outcomes for its students, the model seeks to improve social/emotional, functional, and behavioral outcomes and to close learning gaps experienced by some groups of young children.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) awarded the Institute $7 million to open the center. Also received was $1.2 million through federal Community Project Funding, which will be used to pilot a model design for under-resourced children along with promising practices across existing Kennedy Krieger early childhood education programs.
“A top priority for the MSDE is to advance equity and inclusion for young children and their families, which will lead to better learning outcomes. This completely aligns with our goals at Kennedy Krieger,” said Dr. Nancy Grasmick, chair of Kennedy Krieger’s board of directors and the former state superintendent of education. “We want to advance learning opportunities for as many children as we can, and we know this must start with early childhood education.”
The new center will serve as a demonstration site for professional training and coaching for early childhood educators and take advantage of existing health, education, and specialist resources through telehealth and tele-education.
“We already provide a multitude of services for children in early childhood and that includes educational offerings through our existing preschool programs. Our new early learning center complements what we offer, while allowing us to increase education, training and telehealth opportunities,” said Brad Schlaggar, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Kennedy Krieger. “This model center is designed to serve students and their families and advance educator’ knowledge and effectiveness.”
About Kennedy Krieger Institute:
Kennedy Krieger Institute, an internationally known nonprofit organization located in the greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region, transforms the lives of more than 27,000 individuals a year through inpatient and outpatient medical, behavioral health and wellness therapies; home and community services; school-based programs; training and education for professionals; and advocacy. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children, adolescents and adults with diseases, disorders and injuries that impact the nervous system, ranging from mild to severe, and those who are typically-developing. The Institute is home to a team of investigators who contribute to the understanding of how disorders develop, while at the same time pioneering new interventions and methods of early diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Visit KennedyKrieger.org for more information about Kennedy Krieger.
Jamie Watt Arnold