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Tacoma Community College » Resources & Services » Early Learning Center » Mission, Purpose, & Philosophy

Mission, Purpose, & Philosophy


The mission of the Early Learning Center is to provide a safe and nurturing early learning experience in an environment where best practice is paramount for young children of students and staff of Tacoma Community College and the community.

ELC play yard


The purpose of the Early Learning Center is to provide a quality early childhood program that meets the needs of children and families while parents pursue an education.  We believe developmental, cultural, and age appropriate practices are the foundation for early childhood and children’s programming within relationship-based settings.

The Early Learning Center is licensed by the Department of Early Learning (DEL) to care for 92 children.  Children must be at least 4 weeks old to enroll and may continue until they are kindergarten eligible.  During the summer quarter we have an additional program for school-age children (6-8 year olds).  The center is open 7:30 am – 5:30 pm.  The Center is closed on Fridays during the summer quarter.

There are six classes staffed by teachers with experience and education in Early Childhood Education.  Children are placed in a class based upon their age and developmental stage.  The ELC operates an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (E.C.E.A.P.) for eligible four year-olds, and an Early Head Start program for pregnant mothers and children up to 2 years old who qualify. The Center is subsidized by the Associated Student Body of the college.  Because of the ASB support, Student Parents of children in the Center pay on a sliding fee scale. This tuition fee is based on the number of hours needed for child care each quarter as determined by the Student Parent’s class schedule, with a minimum of 25 hours per week.

The Early Learning Center does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or disability.


The TCC Early Learning Center is staffed by Early Childhood professionals who value children’s sense of curiosity, and recognizes that play enhances development and learning.  We believe developmental, cultural, and age appropriate practices are the foundation for early childhood education within relationship-based settings. Equally, building trusting and reciprocal partnerships with families is a value that we hold as essential. 

Activities are planned to provide opportunities for success and to encourage a feeling of competency.  In addition to developing a positive attitude, the children learn to value the feelings and rights of others.  They are shown how to work out conflicts with others in ways that develop problem solving skills for dealing with realistic situations.  It is our hope that every child will feel valued and capable.  We recognize that all children pass through developmental stages.  We respect their individual differences and rates of growth.  It is our intent that the curriculum, the equipment, and most importantly, our expectations be developmentally appropriate.


In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; fax: (202) 690-7442; or email:program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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