Early Childhood
Community Center

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In April of 2021, the Lawrence Public Schools USD 497 Board of Education made the difficult decision to close Kennedy Elementary to future K-5students, but they also said “Yes!” to repurposing the building as an early childhood community center. This opportunity could not come at a more promising time as there is unprecedented support at all levels of government and in public/private sectors for a reimagining of the systems that impact families with young children. A workgroup of Douglas County early childhood community stakeholders spent the summer and fall of 2021 gathering input, researching evidence-based models and developing timelines for implementation.


The Inspiration

A trauma-informed, family-centered, multigenerational
Early Childhood Care and Education Mixed-delivery System
where community services and supports wrap around the entire family to meet their needs.

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The Model

  • A Family Resource Center that wraps around the entire family to make sure basic needs are met 

  • A Provider Academy to recruit new providers to the profession, retain existing providers and provide ongoing support 

  • The 3AHQ Project to increase the number of accessible, affordable and available high-quality child care and education slots in Douglas County