Major upgrades coming to local early learning facilities, thanks to state grants

State Sen. Marko Liias

The Washington State Department of Commerce announced recently that four local early learning centers were awarded grants through the Early Learning Facilities (ELF) program and will soon see major upgrades. 

“There is nothing more beneficial to a young learner’s development than access to early learning programs,” State Sen. Marko Liias said in a news release announcing the grant awards. “This is great news for so many families and businesses in our community who rely on child care and early learning.”

Liias represents Washington State’s 21st District, which includes portions of Edmonds and Lynnwood.

Facilities scheduled for an upgrade include: 

  • The Nova Family Resource and Childcare Center, Edmonds ($53,800) for handwashing sinks, restroom ADA compliance, fire alarm system, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning to increase capacity by 15 slots. 
  • WorldKids Academy, Edmonds ($700,000): Addition of three classrooms — one infant, one toddler and one preschool for a total of 41 slots. 
  • Little Wings Learning Academy, Everett ($2.5 million): A new facility will be built near the Machinist’s Institute, which will help meet child care needs for the aerospace workforce. The goal is to accommodate multiple shifts, non-standard hours and possible weekend care. The project is for renovation of an existing building on the acquired property. This project is for Phase I, which will be for 98 licensed slots, with a minimum of 25% for Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) available on multiple shifts. 

The Early Learning Facilities (ELF) program and these grants were part of the funding in the 2023-25 state capital construction budget. The grant makes it possible for these organizations to expand and serve additional children throughout Snohomish County and in communities across Washington through the Working Connections Child Care and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program.  

ELF resources were prioritized for “child care deserts,” areas with few or no licensed care options, and for rural communities, the news release said. Appropriations in the ELF program constitute an important strategy for improving access to affordable care options, the release added.

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