Mosaic Family Zone Cuts Ribbon for Early Learning Center

The Truth Staff

“Eighty-two percent of kids in Toledo are not ready for kindergarten,” said David Mosaic as kids an their parents from the Old South Toledo neighborhood prepared to cut the ribbon for the Mosaic Family Zone’s Early Learning Center.

The Early Learning Center, which was fully licensed at the beginning of February, is designed to decrease that 82 percent figure and give kids in the Od South neighborhood the opportunity to be fully prepared for kindergarten when they reach age five.

Currently, said Kim Schulz, director of the Center, there are 20 kids enrolled – four infants, six toddlers and 10 preschoolers. The Center has a capacity of 50 and the staff is sorting through applications now.

“Only 25 percent of kids in this neighborhood can attend a quality pre-school day care,” said Kaiser. “We will double that capacity.”

Mosaic had raised one million dollars in order to renovate the building at 860 Orchard Street, the former St. James School – all through private funds.

One of the principal fundraisers in this effort was the Historic South Initiative and Chris Amato, the president of the Initiative, was present for last week’s ribbon cutting.

“A priority for us is education,” said Amato before the ribbon cutting. “This is a resource and a catalyst to revive this area. We honestly believe that if we can reach kids that will revive the area.”

“We know that offering high-quality, standards-based education and access to family supports is critical to revitalizing the Old South End.  We are pleased to support the efforts of the Mosaic Family Zone to ensure that all children and families in the Old South End have access to opportunities that will help them thrive,” said Amato prior to the event.

The Mosaic Early Learning Center has been under development for more than 18 months. The center will feature lower teacher to student ratios, parent education and a focus on Social Emotional Learning using the Conscious Discipline curriculum.

The Mosaic Family Zone opened the first phase of its education program, Baby University, 12 years ago and has graduated over 900 parents during that time. The three-step process includes reading to children every day, learning to discipline in productive ways, getting appropriate healthcare and healthy coping with family stress.

Kelly Kaiser, executive director of Baby University spoke of the efforts the Center will utilize to achieve and maintain quality including: lowering student to teacher ratios, paying better wages to attract the best teachers and scholarships for families

“We know children born into low-income families start the first day of kindergarten about 60% behind middle class students on average across the United States,” Kelly Kaiser said earlier in the week. “Our approach is to work with parents from the point of pregnancy forward to help them stabilize the family, follow best practices in preparing children for success and get them started on a 20+ year pipeline of family support centered on the students.”

The Mosaic Family Zone exists to ensure every family in the Old South End has access to services which are both wholistic and longitudinal; providing everything a family needs over a 20-plus year continuum. The major focus is to beat poverty over a generation through education. Some examples include help with rent, utilities, one to one support for GED, child and teen mentoring.