The Center for Early Learning

Servant leaders in early learning

The University of Dayton Center for Early Learning is part of the School of Education and Health Sciences.  It was established in 2011 to advance early care and education through relationship building and shared resources.

The Center for Early Learning seeks out partnerships with those who share a commitment to young children and families.  We live out the Marianist charism through servant leadership and commitment to community outreach.  

Letter from the Executive Director

The Center for Early Learning has had a very busy and successful year and all 4 of our key initiatives have made great progress. 

Under the direction of Ashley Marshall, the Bombeck Center received the highest quality rating of five stars from Ohio’s quality rating and improvement system, Step Up to Quality.  Enrollment is strong and the budget is on sound footing. 

image of shauna adamsOur commitment to Catholic schools continues to be strengthened by our ongoing partnership with the University of Dayton Center for Catholic Education. We were honored that RCL Benziger, a leader in Catholic education publishing, held its national leadership team and sales meeting at the Bombeck Center. During this meeting, many possibilities for future collaboration were discussed. The meeting was enriched by the Bombeck Center catechist, Mrs. Debbie Poppaw, who shared her faith formation class with our RCL Benziger guests.

Our attendance at the National Catholic Educational Association conference included presentations on STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, the arts and mathematics) curriculum and family engagement. As part of our partnership with the Center for Catholic Education, we participated in an exploratory meeting for a national STREAM initiative with NCEA, other universities and interested Catholic educators.

Under the coordination of Michelle Donley, the Bombeck Institute continues to grow as our online training offerings now include the 5 I’s of Accomplished Teaching- Intentional Teaching, Integrated Teaching, Inclusion, Inquiry & Innovation. The number of participants has doubled in the past year.

Also in the past year, the ACCESS Curriculum has launched a new publication and has been adopted by several pre-school and kindergarten programs in local districts.  With the continued and growing interest in the ACCESS Curriculum, we have launched a revised content rich website that provides resources for educators who are using the curriculum. Interest in ACCESS beyond the Bombeck Center is supported through technical assistance by Becky Anderson, Dr. Joni Baldwin, Joy Comingore, Caroline Davis, Susan Hampel, Dr. Mary Kay Kelly, and Leah Lauver.

image of better way foundationThrough a generous gift from the Better Way Foundation and assisted by Becky Baker, the Family Engagement Collaborative of the Miami Valley outreach has doubled in size.  The monthly meeting of stakeholders is well attended with new organizations joining on an ongoing basis. Family Café trainings have been offered to family engagement professionals throughout the Miami Valley region, and numerous mini grants have been funded to support family engagement programs.

Supported by a generous gift from the Spurlino Foundation and coordinated by Leah Lauver, the Executive Function Think Tank meets regularly to examine research and identify the possibilities for sharing this important information with the Miami Valley early childhood community. This work, which is a subcommittee of the Family Engagement Collaborative, has led to a series of new Executive Function professional development opportunities and materials that are being distributed throughout the community. 

We wrapped up the year with a visit from the Better Way Foundation Board who held its quarterly board meeting at the UD River Campus.  The board also visited local programs funded by the Better Way Foundation and participated in a Family Engagement Collaborative meeting held at the Bombeck Family Learning Center. 

The past year was enriched by strong partnership both within the University of Dayton and with members of the local, regional and national early childhood community. Our congratulations is extended to our partners for their commitment to children and families in our community.

Wishing you a blessed 2016,

image of shauna adams' signature

Shauna M. Adams, Ed.D.
Executive Director, Center for Early Learning
Associate Professor of Early Childhood Teacher Education
School of Education and Health Sciences
University of Dayton


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