OLYMPIA — The Department of Commerce announced recently that four local early learning centers were awarded grants through the Early Learning Facilities (ELF) program and will soon see major upgrades. 

“There is nothing more beneficial to a young learner’s development than access to early learning programs,” Sen. Marko Liias (D-Edmonds) said. “This is great news for so many families and businesses in our community who rely on childcare and early learning.” 

Facilities scheduled for an upgrade include: 

  • The Nova Family Resource and Childcare Center, Edmonds ($53,800) 
  • Details: Handwashing sinks, restroom ADA compliance, fire alarm system, and HVAC to increase capacity by 15 slots. 
  • WorldKids Academy, Edmonds ($700,000) 
  • Details: Addition of three classrooms: one infant, one toddler, and one preschool for a total of 41 slots. 
  • Little Wings Learning Academy, Everett ($2,500,000) 
  • Details: A new facility will be built near the Machinist’s Institute, which will help meet childcare needs for the aerospace workforce.  
  • Meeting the need to accommodate multiple shifts, non-standard hours, and possible weekend care. The project is for renovation of an existing building on the acquired property. 
  • This project is for Phase I, which will be for 98 licensed slots, with a minimum of 25% for WCCC available on multiple shifts. 
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of Snohomish County ($2,000,000) 
  • Details: Demolition of current site and construction of a new 16,660 square foot facility to provide 100 WCCC slots and 40 ECEAP slots. 

The ELF program and these grants were part of the funding in the 2023-25 capital construction budget. The grant makes it possible for these organizations to expand and serve additional children throughout Snohomish County and in communities across Washington through the Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP).  

ELF resources were prioritized for “childcare deserts,” areas with few or no licensed care options, and for rural communities. Appropriations in the ELF program constitute an important strategy for improving access to affordable care options.