Our School

The Early Childhood Learning Center opened its doors in January 2005. Three half-day and three full-day special needs preschool programs joined together from their previous schools, Joseph J. Catena and C. Richard Applegate, to form the ECLC. Then, in September of 2005, two half-day classes for typical preschool students also joined the school.

ECLC is housed in the renovated 1956 annex in back of the building formerly known as West Freehold School. At present, there are approximately eighty children, three to five years old, in attendance. There are two half-day sessions of typical preschoolers, six half-day sessions and three full-day sessions of preschoolers with special needs. Special education and early childhood teachers, along with educational support persons, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and a physical therapist work together to meet the needs of the preschoolers at the ECLC. It is a place where development is nurtured and guided.


The mission of the Early Childhood Learning Center is to nurture the social, emotional and intellectual growth of each child.  Our guiding principles are to:

  • Instill an intrinsic enthusiasm for learning and discovery

  • Recognize and encourage the expression of individual strengths and abilities

  • Promote positive social interactions and relationships

  • Celebrate personal progress and success

  • Foster productive parent partnerships


Working collaboratively with administrators, staff, parents, and the community, it is our goal to provide a comprehensive, positive educational experience for our preschool students.