AEP Foundation Grant Supports ECA Downtown Learning Center

With generous funding by the AEP Foundation, the Early Childhood Alliance (ECA) renovated four classrooms and added educational materials at its Downtown Learning Center to support its Birth to Three initiative.


The $219,000 grant presented by Indiana Michigan Power on behalf of the AEP Foundation supported development of the AEP Foundation Early Learning Enrichment Wing. The project included adding innovative educational tools for science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) as well as needed updates to the classrooms.


“Indiana Michigan Power admires the great work Early Childhood Alliance performs in our community, and we are excited to see this respected non-profit agency expand its educational offerings,” said Toby Thomas, Indiana Michigan Power President and Chief Operating Officer. “The AEP Foundation is pleased to support the Alliance’s initiative to bring STEAM education to our community’s youngest learners. This state-of-the-art lab has promise to serve as a model and will involve teaching not just the young children but also offering training to the educators.”


The AEP Foundation Early Learning Enrichment Wing houses the ECA’s new program for the youngest learners, from birth to age 3, a group often left behind at an age when the brain develops faster than any other time in life.


“This project will provide the best environments, materials and teaching practices and be used as a model across Indiana,” said Madeleine Baker, ECA Chief Executive Officer. “Classroom educators will receive the training and support that is targeted to ensure they have the tools for the best possible care of children from birth to age 3. Strong relationships and quality early education help lead to optimal brain growth and development, ensuring that our youngest learners get the best start possible.”


The project comes as ECA celebrates 67 years of service, including 21 years of caring for young children at its Downtown Learning Center. Over the past two decades, hundreds of families have used services at the Center, which provides high quality early care and education to young children, from ages 6 weeks to 6 years. The Learning Center strives for excellence and is nationally accredited and Paths to QUALITYTM level four.


ECA worked with MKS to renovate two infant and two toddler classrooms. The flooring has gone from cold, sterile tiles to warm, inviting wood laminate. The old, stained carpet has been replaced with new, fun carpet tiles. Those dingy cabinets and countertops are new and sturdy. The staff at ECA cannot be more thrilled with brand-new work environment in which to care for children. ECA is very thankful to end this rollercoaster of a year with such a generous gift.