Welcome to the ELC

We welcome you to the Early Learning Center at United Disciples Christian Church. The ELC was established in 1975 as a licensed, preschool program designed to support the growth and development of the whole child. Our program is for children ages 12 months to 5 years old. 

We have a wonderful staff of professional early childhood educators who facilitate play-based* learning within a fun, loving, Christian environment.  Small class sizes, daily music classes, special events, and a family feel sets the ELC apart.  Give us a call, come on by, or send us an email.  We'd love to show you what we're all about!

*To learn more about the importance of play-based learning in early childhood education please read the following article, Preschoolers Learn Best Through Play.

Contact Us


Annabelle Miles, Director




Tonia Phillips, Assistant



Educational Philosophy

Following long standing practices in Early Childhood Education, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Association for Early Learning Leaders, the ELC utilizes play to engage children in meaningful and constructive ways in the development of the whole child and a lifelong love of school and learning.


Our Mission

The mission of the Early Learning Center is to provide the best in developmentally appropriate early childhood education in a nurturing, Christian environment where children, parents, and staff work together to empower each child to reach their fullest potential.

Educational Statement

The ELC Curriculum emphasizes differentiation to the individual child and group as children work on foundational skills and conceptual building blocks of learning. We strive to educate the whole child with focus on five developmental areas: social, emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual. We want to empower children with a lifelong love of learning that will help carry them through the challenges of life.


“Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.”

William Butler Yeats

                                                                           Now Enrolling

                                                                       for Fall 2021-2022

                                                                             School Year!




Registration for Fall 2021-22 School Year is open!


We still have limited spots available. 



Our History


For over 40 years, the Early Learning Center has been a licensed, half-day preschool program designed to educate the whole child. 

First Christian Church Early Learning Center Preschool was started in May of 1975, with school beginning in September of 1975. The program moved to First Christian Church from Richland United Methodist Church Preschool which opened originally in 1972. A Spring Open House was held at FCC in May 1975, to allow enrolled parents and children to see the new facility. A Preschool Committee was named, as a sub-committee of the Education Committee, to be responsible for assisting the director in decision making regarding policies and procedures. The first Early Learning Center committee was headed by Donna Heaton who served as the first chairperson and would serve as chairperson in future years. 

 Many changes have occurred since the school’s inception in 1975. In September of 1981, an “extended day” lengthened the day to 1:45 at the request of the parents. In January of 1982, the Mother’s Day Out program was added at the request of the evangelism committee and community parents, immediately serving 32 children ages 5 months to 2 1/2 years. Additionally, the 3-day class for 3 year-olds was added in September 1984, in response to parental request. In 1995, the ELC added Bible classes to its curriculum. The ELC has ministered to many children and their families through the Bible program. In 1999, a scholarship fund was instituted as a memorial to Donna Heaton in appreciation for all she contributed to the ELC. The scholarship has assisted several families with various hardships, whose children would have needed to drop out of the ELC if the scholarship had not been available. These families, as well as the ELC staff, are very grateful for this scholarship program and all it has meant in the lives of young children. A merge in 2008 between First Christian Church and Western Heights prompted a name change for the church. The United Disciples Christian Church was born and presides over our current ELC ministry. 

In 2015, the ELC celebrated its 40 plus years of operation. The enrollment has fluctuated between 60 and 100 children over the years. The staff has also fluctuated beginning with 5 teachers and a director to a high of 12 teachers and a director. A small child:teacher ratio has always been a priority.  Presently, there are approximately 60 children in attendance with 8 teachers, assistant director, and director. 

After being one of the first Richardson preschools to acquire NAEYC Accreditation (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), the school board decided to change accrediting agencies in 2007. As of April 2008, the ELC qualified for accreditation by the National Accreditation Commission (sponsored by the National Association of Child Care Professionals). The school strives to maintain the highest standards of child education.

"Jack was very nervous about attending school, as were his father and I. However within 1 week of classes Jack loved going to school. The environment and friendly staff made the transition for all of us so easy.. Jack has flourished from attending school. His speech has improved dramatically and he is more independent than previously in a lot of things. He asks everyday if it's a school day!"

Alicia White


I can't say enough good things about this preschool. The directors, Ms. Belle and Ms. Tonia are fabulous and the staff is so loving. No matter what teacher you get, you can't go wrong. They are all AMAZING. It's small enough that if you are involved in your kid's education you will get to know the entire staff. We had to leave mid-year due to an out of state job transfer and we will miss ELC so much. Glad this was my son's first preschool experience.

Jamie Steger

Hours of Operation

Monday - Thursday

School Day: 9:00 am - 2:00 pm



Contact Us

(972) 235-8233


601 E. Main Richardson, TX 75081

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