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Early Learning Center

. . . where your child is loved first and taught second.

Our littlest Owls explore learning through social, physical, and academic development at Harford Community College's Early Learning Center (ELC).

The ELC preschool is licensed through MSDE/Division of Early Childhood and provides a safe, nurturing environment and academic curriculum for children ages 2-5. In preparation for kindergarten, we encourage children of all abilities to develop socially, emotionally and intellectually while gaining a positive self-image. Our balanced curriculum incorporates the latest technology—including interactive SMART boards in each classroom—instruction in language arts, math and science, plus art, crafts, drama, and story time.


Registration for 2023 Preschool Camps Opens February 15.

Preschool Camps at the Early Learning Center are for children ages 3-5 and are able to use the bathroom independently. All camps meet at the Early Learning Center on the Harford Community College campus. You can find us by using Entrance #4 off Thomas Run Road. Camps meet from 9 AM–12 PM, unless otherwise noted. 

We're excited for the seven preschool camps we’ve put together for 2023. Take a look at the options and get ready for the fun!

Learn More About the Early Learning Center

Our Curriculum

The Early Learning Center utilizes the MSDE approved Creative Curriculum® in which students learn through creative and active teaching strategies. Creative Curriculum® goes beyond rote learning and focuses on big ideas, interesting projects, and individual students' passions and needs. The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool is based on six fundamental beliefs:

1. The value of play as a vehicle for learning.
2. The importance of helping children to develop social competence.
3. The vital role of the teacher in connecting content and learning.
4. The benefits of building a partnership with families.
5. A belief that all children, including those with special needs, can thrive in an appropriate classroom.
6. The importance of linking curriculum and assessment.

We participate in Maryland EXCELS – a quality rating and improvement system for child care and early education programs that meet nationally recognized quality standards. Children’s first five years lay the foundation for the rest of their lives. These early years have a major impact on how children succeed in kindergarten, in school, and in their lives. Choosing child care and early education for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make. You will consider the cost, convenience and location of a program, but will you consider the most important factor – quality? Your child deserves to be in a quality environment that engages with families, is sensitive to each child’s individual skills and culture, and promotes a love of learning. Maryland EXCELS helps families find high quality child care and early learning programs that fit theirs and their children’s needs.

In addition to our regular curriculum we offer extra activities throughout the year:

  • Monthly Spirit Days
  • Scholastic Book Fairs
  • Family Fun Nights
  • Fall and Spring Field Trips
  • Lunch Bunch
  • Kids Night Out
Our Philosophy

The Harford Community College Early Learning Center provides a nurturing, caring, safe and developmentally appropriate environment for our children of all abilities. We utilize MSDE curriculum that will ensure that our children are well prepared for the next step in their educational journey. Our goal is to encourage children to develop emotionally and intellectually while gaining a positive self-image. Our teachers, staff, and families will work together to provide a cohesive learning environment. Our teachers and staff support all learning activities that encourage problem solving and critical thinking. We believe that the children should have frequent opportunities to make choices throughout the day based on their interests. Our teachers use positive reinforcement and establish reasonable guidelines in our classrooms.

All children are provided with the same opportunities to engage and interact with their peers and teachers on a daily basis. Our schedule provides the opportunities for teacher-directed activities and child-initiated activities in their primary language. Our family’s social and cultural influences are continuously included in our instruction and will help cultivate an unbiased environment in our classrooms and society. The ELC believes in open communication with our families in order to provide the best outcome for your children.

Our Accreditation

Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE) Accreditation incorporates program standards, indicators and descriptions of best practices for prekindergarten children. Accreditation focuses on the administration, operation and family/community partnerships of classroom-based programs. By pursuing and successfully completing MSDE Accreditation, programs demonstrate their commitment to improving the performance of its services and to providing the highest quality programs to children.

Our Lead Teachers

Latasha Keyes

Latasha Keyes
Half Day Preschool Teacher for 4-Year-Olds

Latasha Keyes has an Early Childhood Education degree from Harford Community College and over 16 years of experience working with children of all ages. What she enjoys most about teaching is being able to work with children and observe how they develop and grow. Nothing gives her more joy than knowing she has played a vital role in a child’s education.

Areal Mattocks

Areal Mattocks 
Full Day Preschool Teacher for 2–5 -Year-Olds 

Areal has a 90-hour certificate in Early Childhood Education and currently working on her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education.  She has been with the ELC for 6 years and enjoys singing, dancing and having a fun time with the children while also helping them learn and grow to their fullest potential. 

Edna Reilly

Edna Reilly
Full Day Preschool Teacher for 3-Year-Olds

Edna Reilly has a 90-Hour Certificate in Early Childhood Education and has been working in the education field for over 20 years. Her experience includes preschool instruction for 3- and 4-year-olds. She is very proud to be a part of the HCC Early Learning Center

Jessica Ward

Jessica Ward
Full Day Preschool Teacher for 4- and 5-Year-Olds

Jessica Ward has an Early Childhood Education degree from Harford Community College and has been working in the education field for over 20 years. For the past 10 years, she has worked with the four- and five-year-old age group. She is a dedicated teacher and enjoys enriching the lives of her students.  

Jenn Pielert

Jenn Pielert 
Jenn has an Education degree from Towson University and 8 years experience working with all ages and abilities. She loves teaching the little ones and especially watching their faces light up when they discover a new skill.

Jen Eder, Preschool Director

Jen has been working in the education field for over 23 years. She has worked with the Early Learning Center for the past 9yrs, since the ELC started. She enjoys greeting and interacting with the children and families each day. This is an important part of the day for her. She understands the importance of making sure children are loved, nurtured and feel safe each day at preschool.




Full-day options, schedules and fees

Harford's Early Learning Center provides full day preschool for two-, three-, and four-year-olds.

Full-Time Preschool: 4 or 5 days per week
Partial Week Preschool: 3 or fewer days per week

Arrival: Choose learning center activities.
Opening exercises: using children’s names, calendar, and pledge
Introduction to the day’s activities
Learning Centers/Small Group Activity: including art, music, dramatic play, science, social studies, math, or reading readiness
Outdoor play/activity room
Nap or quiet time
Storytime, songs, finger plays
Table time/Centers


  • Registration is accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snack provided. (*hot lunch provided 1-2 times a week)
  • Affordable tuition with discounts for Harford Community College students/staff
Half-Day Options, schedules and fees

Young 3-Year-Olds: Students who miss the Harford County regulated cut-off date. Students must be 3 by December 31
TUE & THU | AM Session: 9–11:30 AM

3-Year-Olds: (3-years old by SEP 1)
TUE & THU: AM Session: 9–11:30 AM
MON, WED, FRI: AM Session: 9–11:45 AM

4-Year-Olds: (4-years old by SEP 1)
MON–FRI | 9 AM–12 PM

Arrival: Choose learning center activities.
Opening Exercises: using children’s names, calendar, and pledge
Introduction to the day’s activities
Learning Centers/Small group activity: including art, music, dramatic play, science, social studies, math, or reading readiness
Storytime, songs, finger plays
Outdoor play/activity room


All children must be toilet trained.

Preschool Plus

For even more fun and personal enrichment for your child, consider one of our Preschool Plus classes.

Dynasty Sports Academy teaches the basics skills of soccer, lacrosse, basketball, Kids In Motion, and yoga. During dance class your child will learn the basics of ballet and jazz and perform a mini recital at the end of the session.

Monthly ELC Sprit Days: The ELC provides each child with a fun ELC t-shirt to wear the first Friday of each month and at all fundraisers and field trips.

Family Fun Events: The ELC has monthly events at various venues to help raise money for the preschool.

Fall and Spring Field Trips: ELC families enjoy fun trips to a local pumpkin patch and the Plumpton Park Zoo.

Kids Night Out: Once a month you're invited to join us for a fun filled evening of dinner, crafts, games, and loads of laughs.

Our team is committed to making sure our school exceeds the expectations
of our families and the community.
At the ELC, you enter as friends and leave as family.


MSDE Licensed Preschool  |  License #68435  |  Participant in Maryland EXCELS