OUR ROOTS IN THE 1970s
Lily Pond Child Development Centers has its early roots in the 1970s, when it was a collection of child care programs operated by two non-profit entities: Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania and Day Care Services of Blair County. By 2004, the programs of both entities had merged and were operated solely by Easter Seals of Central Pennsylvania.
FOUNDED IN 2006
Lily Pond Child Development Centers was founded as its own legal entity in 2006 after the local Easter Seals determined it would discontinued the child care programs. Lily Pond now operates under the 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization Kids First Blair County. Kids First Blair County was created by our founder, Jackie Clouser, to forge ahead with the vision and mission to serve children and families with high quality, evidence-based child care and early childhood education.
The Lily Pond Early Learning Center (serving birth to pre-kindergarten) first became accredited in 2006 for a five year term, and was re-accredited in 2011. The next re-accreditation will come due in 2016. Today, while there are over 500 accredited programs in the state of Pennsylvania and more that 13,000 worldwide, Lily Pond has the unique honor of being the only NAEYC accredited program in Blair County.
At the time of our founding, Keystone STARS was in it's infancy, much like the newly incorporated Lily Pond Child Development Centers. The staff and administrators got to work enrolling all of the Lily Pond locations in the Keystone Stars program. They began the hard work of increasing teacher qualifications and pay, implementing curriculum that met the new Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, and developing management policies and procedures that supported a mission and philosophy of program excellence. In 2007, the Early Learning Center was the first location to be awarded a STAR 4 rating, leading the way for the remaining sites. Currently, all Lily Pond locations are awarded the STAR4 quality rating.
MY HOW WE'VE GROWN
As the quality of Lily Pond Child Development Centers has increased, so has the size of the program. At the time of our founding, Lily Pond served 164 children with a total of 27 staff. As of the 2014-15 school year, the program has the privilege of serving over 375 children with more than 45 dedicated teachers, administrators and support staff. In addition, we are joined daily by a dozen or more Foster Grandparents and student volunteers and interns.