About Us

Mission Statement

The Loyola Early Learning Center is a year-round parish preschool focused on early childhood education, rooted in the Catholic Jesuit tradition of personal care, learning and spiritual growth.

LELC serves a diverse group of 2- to 5-year-old boys and girls from families of slender means in Baltimore City and from registered families of St. Ignatius parish. 

The center addresses the holistic development of children. Their physical, spiritual, emotional, cognitive, social, behavioral and cultural growth prepares them for kindergarten and for meeting the challenges of elementary school and beyond. 

We award scholarships to all children accepted from low-income Baltimore City families to attend LELC.

Focus on the whole child: physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual growth


Kindergarten-ready to meet challenges of elementary school

Scholarships awarded to all children from low-income families

“Education is our priority, and LELC has made it possible for us to provide our daughter with a good foundation for her education. So far, LELC has strengthened her social and emotional development, school readiness, language and cognitive skills, academics and self-confidence.”

LELC Parent

Our Vision

Fr. William J. “Bill” Watters, S.J., opened Loyola Early Learning Center in 2017 to address the lack of quality early learning opportunities for low-income children in Baltimore City.

The overarching mission of LELC is to remedy socioeconomic disparity in kindergarten readiness among underserved children living in Baltimore City. We provide our students a high-quality preschool curriculum, characterized by  individualized student support and parent involvement for three full years prior to kindergarten.

Father Watters has a long-standing Jesuit Tradition in responding to the critical need for quality education for children of low-income families in Baltimore City.

LELC is modeled to follow the success of St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, which has educated middle school-aged boys since 1993, and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, established in 2007. Father Watters founded both schools, aiming to provide disadvantaged students with high-quality educations.

Research shows the highest rate of return in education comes from investing in children as early as possible. Children from disadvantaged environments, however, are least likely to get the support they need. Our objective is to disrupt this pattern!

The vision and mission behind these three schools are to create a Jesuit educational ecosystem that impacts not only the students but also their families, neighborhoods and the city of Baltimore itself.

The schools form an emerging and continuing education enterprise from preschool through middle school, and from high school into college and graduate school, that focuses on creating a core group of highly educated citizens—lawyers, teachers, business executives, and other skilled professionals—who will be the leaders of tomorrow, creating a whole new Baltimore.

Make a difference in a child’s life.

Learn more about our scholarships.

Our Jesuit Approach

Cura Personalis

Our preschoolers benefit from small classrooms (9-10 students, one accredited teacher, and one assistant teacher per class), new facilities, health screening, learning assessments, social services, and an engaging experiential learning program.

LELC teachers use evidence-based best practices and know that children benefit from play and instruction, from both teacher-directed and child-directed activity. “Kindergarten ready” graduates develop literacy skills and experience science and math concepts throughout the curriculum.

Daily physical and interactive activities advance gross and fine motor coordination as well as cultivate social and emotional skills (conflict resolution, group play) and spirituality. A nutritious breakfast and lunch are served each day, along with snacks.

Our administration staff includes a Center Director, Executive Assistant, Academic Support Lead Teacher, Social Worker, and Coordinator for Mission and Identity.


As a Jesuit school, our focus is on “doing more.” And emphasizing “the better.”

We do not just look at the child, we look at the whole family and provide educational opportunities, counseling, workshops, classes, and a Family Emergency Fund for our parents.

We do not just stop doing the work at the end of the school year, we are open year-round, giving our parents confidence that their children are in a safe environment all day, every day.

Men and Women for Others

At LELC, we connect students and parents to people and resources in our community that enrich their learning and wellbeing.

Some of these include:

Workshops led by doctors of Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland Hospital to discuss toddler health and nutrition and to answer parent questions.
Clinicians from Loyola University Maryland’s Clinical Centers work directly with our students on common issues around speech, hearing, understanding, and using language to communicate.
The Loyola University Maryland Psychology Department provides parent workshops on Positive Parenting and Speech and Language /development
Our Reading Buddies program connects students with a reading mentor who attends St. Ignatius Loyola Academy.
Student musicians from Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and Towson State University to play their instruments for our children and offer interactive lessons.

Volunteers of all ages come to support our students and families by offering their skills and expertise, for example Mrs. Joanne Manzo, CNP, provides a “Mindfulness” workshop to teach all of us techniques for calming down and centering when stressed.