The Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) cut the ribbon on its new Bauder Education Center, an early childhood education program located in Columbia’s Long Reach Village Center. The new 5,332-square-foot, state-of-the-art childhood education center doubles the capacity as its previous location from 38 to 79 children.

Bauder Center ribbon cutting. Photo courtesy Howard County Government.

The Bauder Education Center was envisioned with a “one-stop shop” concept which would not only serve the children, but also deliver high quality, holistic services to the families. The center includes a full-time family service worker to assist with housing, energy and food services. Additionally, the families are supported by a career coach who will lend support with their educational and employment opportunities.

The Head Start program serves 362 Howard County children with four early education centers, including the new space at the Long Reach Village Center. The program is designed to prepare children socially, emotionally and academically for kindergarten. The center will also serve as a family support center that provides wrap around services that include housing, energy and food assistance while their children are receiving a high-quality education that prepares them for kindergarten.

Twenty-six percent of Howard County families with children under the age of five find quality early childhood programs out of their reach. On average, across all income levels, Howard County families spend about 20 percent of their income on childcare double the national recommendation of 10 percent.