Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning Celebrates Grand Opening of First Early Childhood Education Center
HERSHEY, Pa. – September 20, 2023 – Today, Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning (CHS), a subsidiary of Milton Hershey School (MHS), celebrated the opening of its first Early Childhood Education Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. CHS Hershey is part of a $350 million initiative to initially develop six Early Childhood Education Centers in Pennsylvania designed to serve children from six weeks to age five from under-resourced and over-burdened backgrounds, with all costs covered for qualifying families.
Event attendees included local leaders and supporters, community partners, CHS’ inaugural teachers and staff, and a group of the first families to enroll. The event kicked off with remarks from key leaders, including Chair of the MHS Board of Managers Diane Koken, MHS and CHS President Pete Gurt, CHS Executive Director Senate Alexander, CHS Hershey Center Director Melissa Ilski, and Dauphin County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Pries. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, attendees toured the 50,827-square-foot facility.
“We’re gathered today to celebrate so much more than just the opening of CHS Hershey,” said Alexander. “At the corner of Governor and Homestead Roads in Hershey, we’ve built something truly historic, designed to change the lives of children, families, and our community. As I walked through the halls of CHS Hershey, it was evident that the intentional spaces, unique programming, and passionate staff are well-prepared to deliver our whole-child and family success approach.”
CHS Hershey, serving 150 local children, will operate as a year-round non-residential facility from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The CHS program is centered around a play-based curriculum to enhance children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development and features 12 classrooms, an Innovation Studio, active movement spaces, a STEM Garden, and a Family Success Center, where families can be connected to tools and resources to support their children in the classroom and at home. Additionally, CHS will offer enrolled children services on-site, often from outside providers, such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy; physical and mental health services; meals, transportation for some, and personal items with all costs covered.
MHS and CHS President Pete Gurt added, “Today’s grand opening reflects the power of collaboration between MHS and CHS, local organizations, school districts, and the broader community, as we collectively address the need for early education in the community for those who don’t have access to it. The children and their families that walk through the doors of each of our Centers will now be part of Milton and Catherine Hershey’s lasting legacy, and I am so thankful that we have an opportunity to help make a positive difference in their lives.”
While enrollment at CHS Hershey is at capacity upon opening, interested families can sign up to receive updates for future enrollment opportunities at CHS Hershey or future locations in the enrollment section of chslearn.org.
ABOUT CATHERINE HERSHEY SCHOOLS FOR EARLY LEARNING
Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning (CHS) will provide non-residential, year-round weekday care and education to children from six months to age 5 from under-resourced and over-burdened backgrounds, with all costs covered for qualifying families. CHS is a subsidiary of Milton Hershey School (MHS) and is part of a $350 million initiative to develop six Early Childhood Education Centers in Pennsylvania. For more information, visit chslearn.org.
ABOUT MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL
Milton Hershey School is one of the world’s best private schools, where qualifying students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade live on campus and receive an exceptional educational experience—with all costs covered. For more information, visit mhskids.org.