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Do you remember learning how to read? Honestly, probably not. But you might recall the amazing teacher who taught you. And you likely remember the activities you participated in more than any educational worksheet. We learn best through connections – and your child is no different. We focus on relationships and experiences to encourage higher-level learning.

When kids have opportunities to engage with the world, they build incredible background knowledge that will stick with them forever.

To strengthen fundamental skills, ECEC partners with families to provide positive learning experiences. We pair curriculum with real-life learning opportunities so your child can explore the world and confidently take on new challenges in a supportive environment. Most importantly, hands-on learning allows us to uniquely reach each child.

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Co-Founders Ted and Jill O’Leske open its doors to the Early Childhood Educational Center (ECEC) in Oak Creek, Wis., in 1996 (inset photo). For nearly 25 years, ECEC offers a higher standard of preschool education committed to providing quality child care to the communities of southeastern Wisconsin.

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Childhood is the foundation upon which the rest of our lives are built on. We are proof of that. Our own childhood experiences have inspired our adapted approach at ECEC. Our teaching team has a passion for helping children learn and make connections through these experiences. We’re not just caregivers. We’re teachers, mentors, partners – and your biggest supporters.

We aspire to provide a safe and professional learning environment that is respectful and non-judgmental, treating families with the grace and understanding needed to learn together and work together as partners for raising our children.

Growing up in a challenging home environment, I learned independence at an early age. I enjoyed being out in the country and exploring my great uncle’s farm in Oak Creek, Wis. Now, as a parent, caregiver, and an educator, I strive to foster independence in a positive way – emphasizing the real-life experience, but adding in the extra support kids need to really thrive.

TED, CO-FOUNDER

I still remember sitting at my little red art table drawing pictures and letters. It didn’t come as a surprise to my family when I turned my passion into a career. Now, I enjoy using my graphic design skills to support our marketing efforts, program activities, and resources to share with ECEC families. I’m always on the lookout for new, creative ways to help children and families grow!

JILL, CO-FOUNDER
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Environment matters. Nature has a special way of calming the mind and sparking creativity. Our young friends are welcomed into a learning retreat after walking down the treelined path connected to Deerfield Elementary. Our spacious property is surrounded with high fencing with paths lined with woodchips. Our building is locked with controlled access to keep our little ones safe and protected while they explore and learn.

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Remember when we were kids? We played outside at every chance! Fresh air is good for everyone, and we believe kids learn best when they have freedom to play. ECEC has an oversized backyard – over 7,000 square feet! Kids can enjoy the grassy space, make believe on the jungle gym, create crafts on the patio, or race bikes and play games on the hard-surface playground. Weather-permitting, we love letting our kids learn outdoors.

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Most kids jump at the chance to get their hands dirty – and we enjoy giving it to them! With the help of our little gardeners, our vibrant garden has grown exponentially each year. As kids watch their tiny seedlings grow into flowers, fruits, and vegetables, they also learn about bugs and what kind of environmental factors are needed for a healthy garden. The hands-on experience teaches them to care for living things and our environment.

Our community partner, Pinehold Gardens, shows our students what sustainable gardening looks like on a larger scale when we take field trips to our favorite local farm. Plus, you’ll love receiving fresh produce weekly (while supplies last).

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When we aren't outdoors, you'll find us in open-concept spaces desgined with discovery in mind.

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LARGE ROOM

Perfect for group time, nap, music, or just some quiet time to reset. We also use this room for individualized preschool group activities as well as in-house field trips – they might get to meet a police officer and firefighter or visit with our naturalist and environmental teacher, David Stokes.

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CENTER ROOM

Includes 9 brain-growing stations with activities like challenging puzzles, problem-solving games, imaginative toys, fine motor activities, a sensory sand table, engaging mini library, and, of course, an area to “play house.”

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LUNCH AREA

With so much learning happening, those little bodies need fuel to grow! Our students can recharge in a separate lunchroom, which helps them focus on eating so they can enjoy the fun after! This is where the taste-testing happens while learning basic food groups, good eating habits and health and wellness.

While children are provided with age-appropriate activities throughout the day, they have opportunities to learn, play, and make new friends among younger and older peers for an enriching social atmosphere.

Unsure what kind of care you need? We can help!
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WHAT-PARENTS-SAY

The teachers at ECEC are wonderful, skilled and caring people. Our children have so many wonderful memories of their time spent with the amazing staff at ECEC. We can never thank you enough!

Family of Four, Oak Creek

My daughter started here when she was 3, and is now in their Summer Camp program. She loves her teacher and, although she will be going to her public school 4K program this year, ECEC has built an amazing foundation for her.

Family of Four, Racine

Best decision I've ever made! My son is 4 and he is so smart, thanks to the amazing staff. Thank you for all that you do!

Family of Five, South Milwaukee