Children’s Learning Center co-hosts visit by Sen. Casey

Published 09.08.2021


Linda A. Reichert (left), the center's director, and Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour lead Casey on a tour of the facility.A child waves to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Williamsport Mayor Derek Slaughter during visit.Getting down to the children's level, Casey takes a tiny seat for a hands-on science experiment with group leader Neva E. Simcox (center) ...... in which the children used colored water and salt to learn why some materials make ice melt faster. In addition to his young lab partners, the senator is pictured with Reichert and (in background) Slaughter.Holding his "Five Freedoms" folder, the senator speaks to a Williamsport Sun-Gazette reporter.U.S. Sen. Bob Casey stopped by Penn College's Dunham Children’s Learning Center on Wednesday, focusing on the child care sector’s struggle to recover from the ongoing pandemic and its impact on working families and the economy.

The college and the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children arranged the visit, during which the Scranton Democrat promoted his “Five Freedoms for America’s Children” plan, one plank of which is the freedom to learn.

The high cost and limited supply of child care in many hard-hit COVID areas has forced working families to rely on inconsistent or unsafe options, PennAEYC representatives noted, with some parents reducing their hours or leaving the workforce altogether.

“At Penn College, we are fortunate to have a stable contingent of full-time teachers and assistant teachers employed in our Children’s Learning Center. Coupled with our National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation and the high quality of instruction it reflects, we have been able to avoid most of the staffing issues seen elsewhere in the commonwealth and nationwide,” director Linda A. Reichert said.

“We prioritize child care and the education of young children, so we have made a substantial effort to recruit and retain high-quality teachers by offering above-average wages and a highly competitive total-compensation package.”

During his visit, the senator joined the center’s youngsters in a critical-thinking activity arranged by group leader Neva E. Simcox.