Our Story

“We consider the whole child and our curriculum, inspired by nature, enhances exploratory learning and critical thinking at an early age.”

Liz Kennedy, Board President, TLC

Our Mission

The Learning Center is dedicated to providing high quality early childhood education that develops the whole child.

Our programs are designed to enrich every aspect of a child's intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual, creative and physical development.

Our History

In 1993, members of St. John Presbyterian Church had a dream to establish a preschool in their Sunday school classrooms. Their dream was realized in January 1995–The Learning Center opened with one classroom, one teacher and four students. The program quickly expanded and soon there was a waiting list for every age group. It became apparent that there was a need to provide affordable, quality preschool education for children from West Tampa; therefore, in 2004, TLC opened a newly constructed 6,060 square foot facility with 1,100 square feet of outdoor learning and play space on the St. John Presbyterian Church campus. The Learning Center now has the capacity to accommodate upwards of 100 children.

Since its inception, The Learning Center has continued to grow and adapt to the needs of the children, families and community it serves. In 2013, we embarked on a journey to reconnect children with nature by introducing the concept of well-designed, nature-inspired learning environments that provide daily opportunities for exploration, experimentation, discovery, play and learning. Our goals now focus on creating opportunities to inspire a sense of wonder and to enhance children’s learning by incorporating nature education into curriculum and daily activities. We believe that children who are allowed to experience the natural world, will not only find joy in the great outdoors, but will thrive in a nature-based learning program that enhances cognitive abilities and improves creativity and problem-solving skills.

About Our Teachers

Our teachers have a passion for working with young children and embrace every opportunity to build relationships with our children and their families. They truly love teaching, because their role is to introduce children to a world of wonder and opportunities every day.All teachers have their Child Development Associate credential and regularly attend a variety of professional development trainings that focus on meaningful interactions and developing engaging environments–where children learn through their play. Each of teachers played an integral part in The Learning Center receiving its first 5 Star Award from the Early Learning Coalition and continue to support the highest quality standards in early childhood.

To meet our teachers, we invite you to a tour of our school. Click Here for Calendar

Our Partners

TLC has a history of successful partnerships with numerous early childhood programs such as the Quality Counts for Kids Program, The Early Childhood Council, Hillsborough County’s School Readiness Program, Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Program, Cornerstone Food Program and has often been chosen as a mentor site for a variety of programs that serve Tampa Bay. The program has been accredited by NAEYC, NAC and has repeatedly been awarded a Five Star Quality Rating–a distinguished recognition from The Early Learning Coalition.

Our Collaborations

We frequently collaborate on projects with The Conn Memorial Foundation, University of South Florida’s Education Department, Champions for Children, The Early Learning Coalition, Bess the Book Bus, The Children's Board of Hillsborough County, The Spring of Tampa Bay and Altrusa International. We welcome other early childhood centers and professionals who are interested in nature-inspired environments to visit our school and learn how to adapt it to their own unique situations.