Our Mission

Our mission is to serve a diverse population of children and families of the universities and the surrounding community by providing a high quality, inclusive, educational program sustained through a professional, nurturing staff.

Who We Are

Quality child care has been a growing concern of many constituencies in our society over the past four decades. This had been due in part to the tremendous increase in the number of women who entered the workforce or returned to colleges to complete their education. The latter reason caused various student organizations and other interested persons at the University of Cincinnati to advocate for a child care program that would meet the needs of busy parents, offer a convenient location and a quality program. In 1973, an evening child care program was established and in 1975, the program was expanded to include a day program. Due to the lack of steady enrollments, the evening program was discontinued in 1977. The day program continued to grow and the demand for this service increased. By 1991, the program had expanded to three sites. Also in 1991, the University of Cincinnati purchased the building and property at 3310 Ruther Avenue in Clifton to begin consolidating the three centers into one. In 1994, the Ruther Avenue location was named the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Child Care Center.

Today, our Ruther Avenue center has the capacity to serve 149 children ages three months to eight years. We serve a diverse population of children and families from different cultural backgrounds, socio economic backgrounds, different family make-ups, and children with special needs. The Center is licensed by the State of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The laws and rules governing child care operations are available at the Center for review upon request and licenses are posted in the lobby. The Center has been accredited by NAEYC since 1993 and is a Five Star program with Step Up to Quality.

In 2018, our organization assumed responsibility for the child care center on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. ELC at NKU serves 54 children ages twelve months to six years of age. The program is licensed by the State of Kentucky.

Our Philosophy

Empower Learn Create embraces the constructivist position. This position posits that children learn when they are engaged both physically and cognitively, with objects, people, and events. The program has a developmental focus which grants each child the opportunity to grow and learn at his or her own pace. The planned environments offer purposeful activities that support and encourage growth and exploration in math, science, literacy, music, art, and social skills, all which provide a solid foundation for entering elementary school. The program design reflects the belief that quality early childhood education based on constructivist assumptions involves constant interaction between and among the environment, the child, the teacher, and the family.

In the constructivist view:

  • Environments foster trust and free children to take charge of their play.
  • Children are encouraged to refine skills in self-direction, self-regulation, and problem solving within the context of a program carefully planned to balance freedom with direction that meets both group and individual needs.
  • Schedules are flexible to meet the unique needs of each child with a balance of active/quiet play, indoor/outdoor activity, and the need for food and rest based on the developmental levels of the children.
  • Teachers begin with the knowledge the child has and finds ways to help the child figure out new thinking related to what the child understands, thus clarifying and moving forward with appropriate solutions.
  • Teachers are engaged in frequent one-on-one purposeful interactions to encourage language, scientific inquiry, and creative expression, while supporting social and emotional well-being.
  • Materials and supplies are selected carefully to enrich play and work with music/movement, literature/literacy, math concepts, scientific inquiry, sensory and art media and props for dramatic play.

How We Prioritize the Waiting List

Empower Learn Create exists to provide quality family-centered child care for children of students, staff and faculty of the University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University with additional spaces made available to the community at large. The management of the waiting list is based on the philosophy that we will make every effort to provide services to the families affiliated with the universities and will accommodate the child care needs for siblings of current recipients if possible. ELC is committed to serving a diverse population of children and families in our program.