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South Side Early Learning

Who We Are: Since 1922, the mission of South Side Early Learning (SSEL) has been to ensure that every child six weeks to 5 years of age benefits from a holistic, high-quality early education. The teaching faculty and administrative staff work passionately to lead the partnerships, best practices and performance that maximize a child's first 2,000 days, providing a comprehensive program to promote intellectual, emotional, social and physical growth and development that meet the needs of each child.

What We Do: SSEL provides year-round, early education programs and strives to equip parents and students with the care and skills necessary to succeed in school and life. Our holistic approach includes the family unit and through the work of our Family Service Center (FSC), we focus on strengthening families while teaching critical parenting skills, increase problem-solving abilities, and decrease high-risk behaviors. We recognize that sustainable home life is the foundation of success and we offer a variety of programs and resources to provide families with resources that will help them find affordable housing, manage their money, and connect with other community opportunities.

Why We’re Important: Developed over the last century, South Side Early Learning’s model for early education has been refined to best serve the needs of children, families and educators. With nearly a century of proven best practices, the South Side Early Learning Model combines data-informed decision making, evidence based classroom strategies, embedded professional development, and integrated family-engagement.With our innovative workforce development initiative that includes our social enterprise, Project NUDL, a professional development training and research institute, we are expanding the way people think about quality early education and providing opportunities for teaching staff to be paid fair, living wages.

How We Impact the Community: Over the past 100 years, we have:

  • Developed partnerships across Columbus to ensure every child is provided the resources they need to thrive.

  • Worked to ensure every family has access to high-quality early childhood education, regardless of income or family status.

  • Developed a revolutionary model focused on connecting the community to early childhood programs.

  • Launched the Reopening Child Care Playbook, a free guide to help programs safely reopen during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

  • Established a level of expertise to support teachers, train the next generation of professionals, inform policies, and innovate the field of early childhood education.

How You Can Help: Research shows that investing in early education can result in a lifetime’s return of up to $12 for every dollar invested. New research by NAEYC shows that, due to the pandemic, 81% of early care and education providers will be closed permanently by 2021 if no investments are made into early education. To meet current needs, we will soon be expanding our quality education model by adding new SSEL locations. By investing in our work at, you will help us expand our work for children and families who need it most.

Connect with South Side Early Learning

280 Reeb Avenue

Columbus, OH 43207

966 S High St, 3rd Floor

Columbus OH 43206


CEO: Colin McGinnis

Board Chair: Beth Fisher


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