LEAP Academy is a school that strives for excellence and achievement. LEAP Academy Charter school has a 100% graduation rate as well as 100% college acceptance. The preschool is no exception. To truly understand Rutgers ELRA preschools, we need to know the history behind it. After the 1998 Abbott ruling, a grant was put in place to help bring about a means to create a preschool. Consequently, the first Preschool classroom plan was to be established and implemented out of a trailer. The institution was first called Preschool EvenStart.

In 2001 the program moved into the Leap’s Elementary facility at the lower level. The program was composed of three classrooms with a total of 45 children and eventually, a fourth classroom was added. Then in 2009, the preschool expanded in accordance with the Abbott program.The preschool added two more classrooms and placed them on Cooper street in a module. The idea behind this school was to build a “pipeline” on Cooper Street for infancy to twelve grade. So, in 2010 construction began on the ELRA building. The two classrooms in the modules moved into ELRA in 2011. This new facility Early Learning Research Academy (ELRA) was created to research the best practices associated with early childhood. This establishment whichis located at 501 Cooper Street consists of an infant room, a toddler A-room, and a toddler B-room on the first floor. Then on the second floor, there are two pre-k classrooms. In 2011 once again construction began on the Stem building, which would house another four preschool classrooms. In the following year Stem is completed and the preschool opened.In2013 six more pre-k classrooms were added to the Stem building. Finally, by 2014 five more classrooms were incorporated into the Stem building.

The ELRA building has two programs. The first one is an infant and toddler program (Bright Horizon) which holds about 53 children as young as eight-weeks-old to three years old. The second program is the preschool program for children ages three to five. The preschool program has two classrooms at the 501 Cooper location and fifteen classrooms at the Stem building. The total number of students in the preschool program is about two hundred fifty-five students. I will be looking at the fifteen students in one of the classrooms at the 501 Cooper street

Serving 316 infants, toddlers & preschoolers

Through the partnership with Rutgers-Camden, LEAP families benefit from the services and programs of the Early Learning Research Academy (ELRA). ELRA is an early childhood development and research center with programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The holistic model focuses on cognitive and socio-emotional development as important elements to address school readiness for urban children.

The mission of ELRA is to enhance the future school success of Camden City children from birth through age five by providing high-quality, research-based education and comprehensive wellness services while improving research and best practices in early childhood development and education.