Jessica Krugger, St. Martin's Center

Preschool children enjoy cooperative hands-on play experiences
at St. Martin's Center                            Photo/Jessica Krugger
ERIE – St. Martin Early Learning Center (SMELC), the largest program of St. Martin Center, Inc., has made it their mission to help children become productive and independent citizens by guiding them and treating them with dignity and respect. SMELC is thrilled to announce they are the brand-new recipient of a four-year Pre-K Counts award totaling up to $700,000.

“We believe that early learning is the key to Kindergarten readiness. PreK-Counts offers us a great opportunity to educate more children and it represents another step forward in our commitment to lifting families out of poverty,” says CEO David González. The new Pre-K Counts program will add an additional 20 full-time Pre-K slots to SMELC’s current enrollment of 172 children ranging in age from six weeks through 13 years, including 75 current Pre-K students. The Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts pre-kindergarten program, established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will make quality pre-kindergarten opportunities available to children and families across the commonwealth.

According to The Pennsylvania Key (, the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts program “is based on the quality components adopted for pre-kindergarten by the State Board of Education; provides families in participating communities with a choice of quality pre kindergarten options in a school, child care center, Head Start, or nursery school; increases access to quality pre-kindergarten to children and families throughout the commonwealth with a priority in at-risk communities; and builds on the work of the Pre-K Counts Public-Private Partnership for Educational Success, a three-year project funded by leading Pennsylvania foundations and supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.” “By receiving the Pre-K Counts grant, we are given the opportunity to serve more families in our community. Through this program we will be able to instill in our young learners the necessary skills to best prepare them for Kindergarten and also reduce the financial burden these families may have faced when trying to find quality care and education for their children. Without these funds, these children may have never had the opportunity to know and be a part of a warm and engaging pre-kindergarten program. We welcome this program and are grateful to be of service to more families in our community!” said Angela Rentschler, St. Martin Early Learning Center Director.