In July, 2014, Camp Curtin Community Neighbors United, an unincorporated neighborhood organization, adopted a strategic plan. Goal 3 calls for developing a high-quality cradle to grave education program for residents with the following actions:
That same year, the Camp Curtin Memorial Mitchell United Methodist Church, located at 2221 N. 6th Street in Uptown Harrisburg, donated space for the early childhood education program for 3 to 4 year olds. Part-time operational hours were approved and volunteers cleaned and prepared the room for students, established a curriculum under the direction of Harrisburg Area Community College’s Early Learning Center, and formed a partnership with The Joshua Group to guide the development of the overall program for Camp Curtin Community Preschool. $1,500 in private contributions helped to offset some of the start-up expenses and volunteers from the community accounted for everything else. Publicity about the new program resulted in the participation of 3 – 4 children, more or less on a regular basis.
The program focuses on low-income families; parents do not contribute financially, because their income falls below the threshold for tuition. They are, however, expected to participate in parent programs and to provide some volunteer support, as may be possible. An all-volunteer board is committed to making it an-ongoing program.
In 2016, Camp Curtin Community Preschool had 8 children enrolled on a regular basis. It experienced a dramatic 50% increase in enrollment in 2017. Parents are beginning to engage in the program, and a generous donor has provided a van to transport the children on various educational outings around the city. The church has made additional rooms available for anticipated growth of this program.