Our History

Oberlin Early Childhood Center is a nationally accredited, not-for-profit early care and education program that serves children from six weeks to kindergarten.  

Since 1968, we’ve been serving the families of the community by providing exemplary programming.  Our teachers have an average tenure of more than ten years.  We have grown to become the largest provider of early childhood education in Oberlin and have served multiple generations of families.

Key Partnerships

We partner with and are supported by the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, Nord Family Foundation, Nordson Corporation Foundation, and many more organizations.  These partnerships allow us to provide comprehensive programs to families of all income levels.

Early Days

The OECC was founded in 1968 as an experimental summer program for low-income families of preschoolers.  Originally located in the basement of Christ Episcopal Church, the program moved within months to larger quarters in the basement of First Church.  This low-cost program quickly became popular with families of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Before incorporation, the Center’s fiscal agent was the Oberlin Consumers Co-op whose manager was James “Bill” Long.  The Co-op also provided support for the Center through its “Causes Fund” now called the Bill Long Foundation.  In 1973 the Center gained status as a nonprofit corporation and received its first United Way grant.

In 1973 it was clear that the growing program needed its own space.  With the influence of Evan Nord of the Nordson Corporation, the Nordson Corporation Family Foundation agreed to build a facility on land located on East College Street.

Breaking Ground

Ground was broken in 1975, and in April of 1976 the building was completed and the program moved to 317 East College Street.  The Nord family’s support continued through the establishment of the Oberlin Early Childhood Center Fund and the Oberlin Early Childhood Center Building Fund through the Community Foundation of Lorain County, to offset the cost of building maintenance and utilities.

The year 1987 brought questions regarding the direction of curriculum, professional development, and program oversight.  The Nordson Corporation Foundation contracted with the High/Scope Foundation of Ypsilanti, Michigan to conduct a comprehensive critique of the facility and programming.

The result was the implementation of a full-time Program Director to work in conjunction with staff to enhance the curriculum and center-related activities. Meet our current staff.

Support & Grants

OECC has seen many changes in the needs of its children and families, as well as funding streams.  Federal funding cuts have made an impact on the program.  The support of funds received from the City of Oberlin and Oberlin College as well as foundation grants from the Nord Foundation, Nordson Foundation, Stocker Foundation, Bill Long Foundation, Green Edge Fund, all help to sustain the program.

Contracts are in place with the Department of Jobs & Family Services of Lorain to provide tuition reimbursement for low-income families.

A Legacy of Quality

Through the years, OECC has remained an early childhood program that has focused on comprehensive quality services for families of all income levels.

In January of 1998 the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited OECC, giving it the hallmark of an exemplary program.

OECC continued to maintain its accreditation status with NAEYC through the end of May 2012, and the Association for Early Learning Leaders’ National Accreditation Commission through 2019.

Five-Star Rating

OECC has maintained a Step Up to Quality Program rating, a rating system for child care centers implemented by the State of Ohio Job and Family Services and currently holds its highest rating of five-stars.