Early Learning


The Beginning of the Complete Continuum

At DCPNI we believe that the journey to high school graduation, a stable career, and a strong and successful life begins with a high-quality early childhood learning experience. Robust early investments in our youngest residents will ensure that preschool age children are entering kindergarten well prepared. Our commitment to this belief is demonstrated through our Early Learning Network (ELN) program.

The ELN  works with a network of early childhood providers located in the Kenilworth-Parkside community.  ELN coordinates services for pregnant mothers, infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children through third grade to ensure that all of our youngest residents will have access to a high quality early learning experience.

The Need for Early Childhood Education and a Focus on Families:

Currently, more than half of the children in the Kenilworth-Parkside community between the ages 0-4 years old do not have access to an early childhood education in their community, with the greatest need being for infant and toddler care.  Some of these same young children face additional challenges within their household. A DCPNI needs assessment found that:

  • Nearly 90% of families with children in the DCPNI footprint are headed by a single female, much higher than the city’s average of 53%
  • 25% of births in 2007 were to mothers aged 19 years old and younger, more than double the citywide share of 12%
  • Ward 7, which contains KP, has the second largest share of low birth weights, with only 52% of expectant mothers receiving prenatal care, and the second highest infant mortality rate in the District of Columbia
  • 79% of the visits by children ages 0-5 from the DCPNI zip code to the Children’s National Medical Center for are for non-emergency illnesses, indicating that many children in the footprint do not have a medical home where they can receive regular care
  • Most of the children in the footprint are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables, are not on track to meet goals for physical activity, and are at a high risk for obesity and being overweight
  • The majority of children in the footprint are growing up in homes where parents lack education and job skills, and are struggling to cover basics like food and shelter for their families.  We heard from residents that they are eager to access education and workforce development programs, and want to provide better opportunities for their children.
ELN in the Classroom and Child Care Providers

The Early Learning Network supports classroom teachers and child care staff to provide a high quality environment where children can develop socially, emotionally, cognitively and physically. The  ELN works in two ways to ensure that all children age 0-5 have access to high-quality early learning opportunities by:

Increasing the Quality of Local Early Learning Resources:

  • Providing technical assistance on curriculum choices, access to literacy tools, and building community-partner relationships.
  • Facilitating a self-study and action plan process that guides and supports providers as they set goals for a higher level of education and care.
  • Collaborating with public school and center-based classrooms and family child care centers to create a smooth transition from an early childhood setting to a K-12 school setting.

Increasing Access to Local Early Learning Resources:

  • Recruiting DCPNI families to our ELN providers, centers and community partners including those focused on early literacy and health & nutrition.
  • Providing technical assistance for child care center expansion and creation.
  • Establishing early childhood services in community centers throughout the neighborhood.

The following childcare providers currently offer early childhood education in the DCPNI community.  To apply or arrange for a tour we’ve provided their contact information here or contact us directly!

Infants, Toddlers, and Pre-Schoolers

Lia’s Rainbow, LLC

Roslyn Taylor, Owner
(202) 885-9778
4428 Ord Street, NE
Washington, DC
[email protected]
*offers before and after care


(202) 741-8665
640 Anacostia Ave., NE
Washington, DC 20019-1509
[email protected]

Smile Child Care Center, LLC

Tracey Woodridge, Owner
(202) 248-3366
3820 Hayes Street, NE
Washington, DC
[email protected]

Pre-School and Pre-Kindergarten

Neval Thomas Elementary School
Ruth Barnes, Principal
(202) 724-4593
650 Anacostia Ave NE
Washington, DC 20019
[email protected]

Early Literacy Support for 0-5 year olds

When parents and teachers read, play, talk, draw, and sing with their infants and toddlers, they are giving children the foundation needed for success in school. These basic early literacy skills are built upon in the preschool and prekindergarten years and the end results are children who are strong readers and writers. Our literacy partners share our commitment to early literacy and are working to ensure that, through our collective efforts, all children in the Kenilworth-Parkside community will be well prepared for success in kindergarten and in life.

Literacy Partners

DC Public Library
Parent literacy trainings and resource support


After school literacy programming

DCPS and Educare

Early literacy instruction during the school day

Health and Wellness Services

The Early Learning Network believes that success in school requires children to have healthy minds and healthy bodies. The Kenilworth-Parkside community has struggled with a history of low birth weight, lack of prenatal care, and no access to a permanent medical home. The Early Learning Network and its health partners seek to change this history by:

  • Referring pregnant mothers to prenatal care services to ensure that their babies are born healthy.
  • Increasing awareness of local medical resources and ensuring that all DCPNI children have a health provider they see regularly.
  • Ensuring that childcare providers and parents are aware of the critical developmental assessments needed to evaluate children’s healthy cognitive and developmental growth.
  • Encouraging wellness, nutrition, and physical activity for DCPNI children and families.
Health Care Partners
  • Children’s National Medical Center
  • Medical Mobile Van and Fit Family Jr. Program
  • Healthy Babies Project
  • Case management, support services and home visiting for young and pregnant mothers
  • Save the Children
  • Early Steps for School Success home visiting and literacy program
  • DCPS Early Stages
  • Diagnostic center for children age 2 years 8 months and 5 years 10 months
Helpful Links

Staffed Family Child Care Networks: A Strategy to Enhance Quality Care for infants and Toddlers http://www.zerotothree.org/public-policy/infant-toddler-policy-issues/fcc-staffed-networks.pdf
DC Early Learning Standards http://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/publication/attachments/OSSE_Infants_v4_0.pd
DC Kindergarten Readiness Standards http://dc.gov/DCPS/Files/downloads/TEACHING%20&%20LEARNING/Learning%20Standards%202009/DCPS-STANDARDS-KINDERGARTEN-

For More Information Contact:
Michelle Smith-Howard
Early Learning Program Director
[email protected]
(202) 297-5461