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The Samaritan Early Learning Center has been serving the children and families of Lincoln City and north Lincoln County for the past three decades. The new facility just south of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital opened in 2011. The building is designed to meet the developmental and educational needs of young children in a bright and lively setting, both indoors and out.

In 2015, the Samaritan Early Learning Center’s commitment to quality was recognized with a five-star rating, the highest quality rating possible from Oregon’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. To date, it is the only top-rated infant/toddler preschool program in Lincoln County and the entire northern and central Oregon Coast.

Each year, North Lincoln Hospital Foundation provides $30,000 in scholarships to families.

“Our scholarship fund is a huge help to struggling families,” said Barbara Dougherty, director of the Samaritan Early Learning Center. “Sometimes a scholarship is able to support a family through a bump in their life. Many of our coastal families are employed seasonally, which can present financial challenges.”

The center enrolls about 90 children each year, and recognizes that children need a strong foundation while their brain is growing rapidly. In a warm, nurturing and supportive environment, children can develop the language skills, cognitive functioning, social skills and emotional well-being to help them succeed when they reach kindergarten and beyond.

“I know it is so important to provide my kids with quality care and early education to help develop their potential,” said a foster mother of two children who spend time at the Samaritan Early Learning Center. “I am grateful every day for the support I receive from the foundation to help with their tuition. I couldn’t do this without the center, it makes me cry when I think about the love and support my children receive every day.”