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Loyola Clinical Centers partners with Jesuit preschool

| By Stephanie Weaver
Loyola speech-language pathology graduate students at Loyola Early Learning Center

The Loyola Clinical Centers is partnering with the Loyola Early Learning Center, a Jesuit preschool in downtown Baltimore, to provide speech-language services to the students and trainings for teachers and parents. A grant from the Wright Family Foundation enabled this partnership.

Two mornings a week, Loyola Clinical Centers (LCC) graduate students and a faculty member go to the preschool to screen and teach students language and pre-literacy skills. In addition to these screenings, the graduate students also train teachers and parents what to look for when it comes to speech, language, and pre-literacy development – something unique that the LCC offers to the Loyola Early Learning Center (LELC) based on a demand from parents and teachers.

The LELC, which is associated with St. Ignatius Catholic Church, was started by Rev. William J. Watters, S.J., president of the LELC, and started admitting students in the fall of 2017. Tuition for each student is paid for by a sponsor. The school will be at full capacity in the fall of 2019, with three classes split by age group – 2-year-old, 3-year-old, and 4-year-old.

Kara Vincent, ’91, M.S., ’93, CCC-SLP, LCC division director for speech-language and hearing clinic, heard about the LELC through social media. Vincent reached out to the Jesuit preschool and the preschool happened to be looking for an organization to provide hearing screenings. The relationship grew from there, and soon, the LCC was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Wright Family Foundation to offset the traveling and service costs for their work at LELC.

Vincent said the LCC is always looking for ways to partner with community and give back.  

“We need to go where the people are. We must pick our work up and take it to the community,” said Vincent. “The work the LCC is doing with the LELC is our mission in action.”

After seeing a need and desire for more parenting trainings, psychology graduate students in the LCC provided ACT Raising Safe Kids Program, a positive parenting and violence prevention program, to parents of the preschoolers.

“My goal is for every preschooler that passes through the LELC to have the communication and pre-literacy skills they need to enter kindergarten and be as successful as possible,” said Alicia Barger, ’93, M.S., ’97, CCC-SLP, the Loyola clinical faculty member in speech-language-hearing sciences who accompanies the graduate students to LELC each week. “I feel strongly that the parent training component of our services provides each parent with the tools they need to support their children in the home and community at large.”

In addition to working with the Loyola Early Learning Center (LELC), the LCC also provides speech-language and hearing services to other Baltimore City Catholic and public schools.

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