Families and children in Tulsa now have increased access to high-quality early childhood education with the opening of Tulsa’s fourth Educare school. Tulsa Educare-Celia Clinton campus makes Tulsa the only city in the nation with four Educare schools and Oklahoma the only state with five, further solidifying the state’s reputation as a leader in early childhood education.
Tulsa Educare, Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) and George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF), along with city officials and state leadership, including State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, celebrated the grand opening during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 17. Speakers included Dr. Cindy Decker, executive director of Tulsa Educare, Dr. Deborah Gist, superintendent of TPS and George Kaiser, Educare board chair and founder of GKFF.
“Educare, and programs like it, are the great equalizer,” said Kaiser. “Stimulating young minds at the very earliest stages of development is the most effective way to interrupt the generational cycle of poverty. Investments in high-quality early childhood education, from birth to three, are not just a profoundly moral obligation to fulfill the American promise of equal opportunity, but actually pay a dividend in lower costs for special education and corrections, and through a more productive workforce. It works, it pays and it’s the right thing to do.”
The new 35,000 square-foot school has 16 classrooms and can serve 164 children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 4-years-old. Tulsa Educare operates three other schools in Tulsa. In all, the four schools serve more than 650 children and their parents with full day, year-round early childhood education and family support services.
“We are so excited to be opening another Educare facility in Tulsa to increase opportunities for children to receive high-quality early childhood education,” said Decker. “The amount of nurturing support and meaningful interaction a child receives in the first three years of life impacts a child’s success in life. By increasing the opportunity for kids at this age, we are opening the door for increased opportunity later in life. Our goal is to transform the lives of children and their families over generations through high-quality education, enhanced parenting practices and strong partnerships with organizations in Tulsa.”
Tulsa Educare is part of the Educare Learning Network, one of the nation’s most diverse and effective networks of early childhood schools. Educare’s comprehensive model is grounded in research from early childhood development, education and social work, and is implemented in a coast-to-coast network.
About Tulsa Educare
Tulsa Educare is a not-for-profit organization created to provide high-quality early childhood education and care to children and their families living in under resourced Tulsa communities. Tulsa Educare provides year-round, full day education and care for more than 650 Tulsa children and impacts the lives of children beyond the walls of our schools through programming and support offered by Early Learning Works by Tulsa Educare. Close partners include the George Kaiser Family Foundation, Educare Learning Network, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, Office of Head Start, Oklahoma Early Childhood Program, Tulsa Public Schools, Oklahoma Department of Education, and Oklahoma Department of Human Services. For more information about Tulsa Educare, visit www.tulsaeducare.org.
About George Kaiser Family Foundation
George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) is a charitable organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty through investments in early childhood education, community health, social services and civic enhancement. Based in Tulsa, Okla., GKFF works primarily on initiatives developed in collaboration with Tulsa-based direct service organizations. For more information about George Kaiser Family Foundation, visit www.gkff.org.