St. James Early Learning Center, being the very first ELC in the entire Diocese of Savannah, opened in August 2009 and consisted of two classrooms serving two and three-year-old children. After the second year, a class for one-year-olds was opened. Over the course of the following years, the ELC continued to grow, becoming well known for providing high quality learning environments for young children.
The formation and success of St. James ELC can be attributed to the vision of late principal, Sr. Cecilia DiDonato, the support of Fr. Mark J. Ross, the experience of Director, Wendy L. Harrison, and mostly, the hard work and dedication of a very loving group of early childhood caregivers. Fr. Daniel Firmin is also committed to supporting growth, while maintaining a consistently high level of quality childcare at St. James Parish.
In the Fall of 2020, anticipating the re-accreditation process for Saint James Catholic School, Father Daniel Firmin, Pastor, requested that the Early Learning Center be transferred under the school and become part of the school program. With the Spring Cognia/AdvancEd accreditation, the ELC became the ELC at Saint James Catholic School on July 1, 2021. The ELC still follows the guideline of Bright from the Start.
We now celebrate our 14th year in business and have grown from approximately 15 children to 50+ children being served at our center and have gained an excellent reputation in the community.
ELC Mission Statement
Saint James Early Learning Center at Saint James Catholic School (ELC) is a not-for-profit childcare center dedicated to the education and care of young children. Our mission is to provide a high quality, developmentally appropriate, play-based program that allows children to engage in meaningful interactions with their peers and caregivers, while providing parents flexible and affordable options for childcare, within our community. Childcare services are available without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, creed or national origin or ancestry.
Our core belief lies in the fact that children are natural learners, curious seekers of knowledge, and explorers in every sense of the word. They have a voice and an important point of view, which is listened to and respected in the classroom. Children are encouraged to develop positive relationships while engaging in meaningful interactions with their caregivers and peers daily. We believe that young children learn best when they are given the opportunity to learn in a language rich classroom that offers a variety of learning opportunities through play and hands-on activities.