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The Early Learning Institute:  About Us

History and Mission of the Early Learning Institute

The Early Learning Institute, founded as St. Peter’s Child Development Centers in 1958, is a private nonprofit organization that offers comprehensive early childhood services to children and their families in Allegheny County.

Begun as a pilot project in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Brentwood, it served eight children, was staffed by volunteers, and provided treatment to children with disabilities in place of the custodial care traditionally available to them. It was the first program for children with disabilities in the area to provide individualized programs geared to children’s needs.

The mission of The Early Learning Institute (TELI) is to help developmentally delayed children, birth to five, realize their full potential through comprehensive programs of therapy and education in an all-inclusive environment; to assist families through counseling; and to aid professionals in the field of early intervention by providing services in training, evaluation, and technical assistance.

Birth differences that are evident at birth (e.g., cleft palate and spina bifida) represent only part of a spectrum of developmental difficulties that appear during childhood. Other conditions (e.g., mental retardation, autism, hearing loss, vision impairment, and cerebral palsy) usually are manifested after infancy and may be sufficiently severe to require specialized medical and education services for many years. Such conditions, in addition to other more minor idiopathic concerns, are referred to as developmental disabilities.

Over 600 infants and toddlers are currently being served in the itinerant program (professional services provided in the home environment). Another 300 children are attending day programs in one of TELI’s three preschools and child care. 10% of those enrolled in the preschools are typically developing children.

The agency has remained an innovator in setting up and adapting programs to provide the best approach to early childhood programming as defined by experts in the fields of early childhood development, special education, and social work. Our three centers, equipped with specialized materials and professional staff members, comprised of physical and occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, developmental specialists, and social services, afford a diverse and stimulating environment in which to grow and learn.

When our children can be integrated into the mainstream of school and community life along with their peers, the child, the parents, and the local community all benefit!

Executive Director: Natalie J. Schwoeble
2004- 2005 Board Members:

President:  Richard F. Andracki, Esq.
Co-Vice President:  Thomas B. Sturges, III
Co-Vice President:  Robert Brown Jr., Esq.
Treasurer:  David P. Duessel
Secretary:  Nicholas Garrubba
Past President:  Michael A. Giglotti
Past President:  Dr. Sylbia Kunst
Parent Representative:  Steffler Balsley

Trustees:
Jewel Amoruso
James J. Burke
William E. Burroughs
Terry Collier
Janice DePersis
Joseph F. DiMario
Nicholas A. Garrubba
Lou Guarino
Bruce Hampton
Bridget Haney
Dr. Sylbia Kunst
Dr. Aurora Miranda
Frank Reabe
Nikki Stewart
By Williams
Anthony L. Zimmer

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