WATERVILLE – Educare Central Maine will launch its Lab School and Learning Hub with the help of a $15,000 donation from Bar Harbor Bank & Trust.

The growing importance of quality childcare has led Educare Central Maine to focus on expanding beyond the walls and reach out to childcare providers to offer professional development opportunities and provide onsite training to higher education students going into early education.

“Bar Harbor Bank & Trust is thrilled to support Educare Central Maine. Over the past decade, Educare’s executive director and staff have worked tirelessly to become a center of excellence for early childhood education. Their commitment to the Lab School and Learning Hub model will have a far reaching impact for preparing new early childhood professionals,” said Jack Frost, vice president director of Community Giving, according to a news release from Educare.

The gift will help support community outreach efforts and ensure that more quality early care and education opportunities are available to families and children across central Maine and, eventually, all of Maine.

“With under 13,000 babies born in Maine annually, it is essential that all receive a healthy start and enter kindergarten prepared to succeed. Our youngest children are the future workers, parents and community leaders, which is why it is critical they have access to the highest quality early learning programs,” said Frost.

“We are so grateful for Bar Harbor Bank & Trust recognizing the importance of quality early care and education and its connection to the current and future workforce,” said Tracye Fortin, Educare’s executive director,  according to the release. “The pandemic has certainly highlighted quality childcare as a vital component to infrastructure.”

Educare Development Director, Erin Merrill said, “This donation will help us elevate professional development opportunities for providers so that children, families and communities benefit.”

Educare’s goal is to officially launch the Lab School and Learning Hub in the spring.

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