Responding to Community Needs
Over 3,000 children from birth-to-five currently wait for subsidized child care on San Francisco’s Early Learning System,1 and the Mission District is one of three communities in our city with the most pressing need for affordable full-day, full-year early care and education (ECE) services.2 In response to this gap in the availability of ECE programming, Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. (MNC) launched a $12 million capital campaign to build new early learning centers, while transforming outdated facilities into state-of-the-art early learning environments that will engage children and encourage discovery to pave the way for a strong start for academic success.
The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the critical need for additional ECE space. Existing classroom capacity has been reduced by 50 – 75% due to public health physical distancing requirements. This campaign addresses both the immediate community need to rapidly add ECE physical space over the next several months and the long-term need to expand access high-quality ECE for low-income children in San Francisco’s Mission District. Investment made today to address essential COVID-related needs will nearly double their return, in terms of number of children served, once San Francisco has lifted physical distancing requirements.
Programs and Services
MNC offers a variety of ECE programming, including home visits for infants, toddlers, and expecting mothers; family support and education; and high quality early learning settings for babies, toddlers, and preschool- aged children. Each of our early learning centers offer age-appropriate, bilingual (Spanish/English), full- day/year-round programming with a full continuum of learning beginning at birth. MNC’s educational approach is purposeful, with a cradle-to-college educational pathway that focuses on developing skills, knowledge, and abilities. Research shows that investments in ECE provide upward mobility for young children. This initial investment in a young child paves the way to increased participation in higher education, increased employment opportunities, and improved health and social outcomes as adults.
Geographic Area and Populations Served
MNC primarily serves the Mission District of San Francisco, the oldest neighborhood of the City known for its vibrant Latin American influence and culture. As the demographics of San Francisco have changed, our Mission community remains the hub for low-income Latinx families. Many of the families we serve are drawn to our community resources due to cultural and language preference, contributing to the success of our early care and education programming.
(1) 2019 Early Learning San Francisco, a data system matching available early care and education programs to qualifying families, operated by the S.F. Office of Early Care and Education. (2) 2017 San Francisco Childcare and Advisory Council Needs Assessment.