Center of Excellence

The Center of Excellence is our new external initiative, located in the Phillips neighborhood. The Center’s multi-generational approach will help increase the stability of children in our community through direct services, including early childhood education, school-age support, and parental engagement. The Center will work to achieve systems change through research and development, community engagement, convening stakeholders, and training childcare providers.

Early Childhood Education

NOW ENROLLING for five classrooms, ages 16 months-6 years. We are located in Minneapolis at 2400 Park Ave South inside Lutheran Social Service-The Center for Changing Lives.

The Center’s early childhood education program provides licensed, high-quality care and support for children ages 16 months-12 years. We offer low child to teacher ratios and small class sizes. We believe that children learn through play in a safe, nurturing environment with consistent, predictable, positive relationships. Our curriculum offers a holistic, nature-based approach, integrating sensory experiences to support healthy social/emotional development, preparing children to be ready for learning and success!

Sensory-Integrated, Nature-Inspired Classroom Design

  • The natural environment fosters a curiosity about natural elements, providing many opportunities for children to learn new concepts.
  • Nature-based activities spark children’s social/emotional and cognitive skills.
  • Interacting with nature reduces stress; increases relaxation, creativity and cooperative play; and helps children develop attention skills.

Mindfulness and Self-Regulation

Children need a sense of both physical and emotional security to be ready to learn, so mindfulness and self-regulation is a central focus in our curriculum. When children are in-tune and can control with their thoughts and emotions, they can make the most of their ability to learn. We use mindfulness practices, such as yoga, mindful games, and calming activities in our everyday routines.

Parent Engagement and Support

Parents play a significant role in supporting their children’s health and learning. Our Parent Engagement programs will equip parents with knowledge and resources to guide their children’s education and developmental success. We believe in partnering with parents to support and improve the learning, development, and health of all children.


Toddler: 16-33 months
Preschool 1: 3 years old
Preschool 2: 4 years old
Kindergarten Prep: 5-6 years, designed for children who have a late birthday and miss the cutoff to start kindergarten
School Age: 5-12 years, full day summer enrollment

Hours of Operation: 6:30 am–6:00 pm, Monday–Friday

Questions? Contact Center of Excellence, or call 612.249.5337.