Early Learning Center

Faith • Family • Foundation

Our Story

Granger Community Church is a generous and community-oriented church located in the Michiana area for over 30 years. Begun in 1986 by Founding Pastor Mark Beeson, Granger Community Church has a mission of “Helping people take their next steps toward Christ…together.”

In 2010, the leaders of the church began to pray for guidance and engage the community, looking for ways to have a greater positive impact as a church. There was an overwhelming response to use the existing children’s space for a preschool and the seeds for the Early Learning Center were planted! (Read more about the history of Granger Community Church)

In 2011, the leaders of the church hired Chris Whitmire to become the visionary and Principal of the school. Chris launched the Early Learning Center with 30 years of experience in education with a Master’s degree in Early Childhood. She began to research and dream big about innovative ways to offer high-quality, faith-based early childhood education to Michiana, and the Early Learning Center was birthed out of her vision and leadership.

In 2018, Chris Whitmire transitioned off of the staff and Mandy Gibbons was hired as Director. Mandy comes to the Early Learning Center with over sixteen years of experience as a preschool and kindergarten teacher at Bridges (also NAEYC accredited) and Covenant Christian School. With a B.S. in Hospitality Management, as well as a Masters in Education from Bethel College/IUSB, Mandy is passionate about shaping the development of young children in their early childhood years and looks forward to continuing to shape incredible early childhood learning experiences for all the students at the Early Learning Center.

Our Symbol

We’ve chosen the dandelion as the symbol for our school. Dandelions symbolize happiness, hope and childhood. The journey of the seeds as they float through the air can be seen as time passing and starting anew out in the world. Children love to make chains with dandelions. They are a bane to the perfect lawn…just like children! And dandelions thrive under adverse conditions, providing healing and nutrition to those who know its redemptive qualities.

Our Commitment to Quality

The Early Learning Center is a licensed center by the State of Indiana. We are in the top 8% of early childhood programs in the nation, accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a rigorous process that demonstrates our commitment to professionalism in 10 distinct areas of early childhood quality programming. We are also a 4-Star program with the Indiana Paths to Quality system. In 2017, we were awarded the distinction of HighScope accreditation, one of only two in the region. We are currently pursuing the Indiana 5-Star Environmental Recognition Program for high-quality environmental practices in early childhood.

Our Vision

A loving community where children are trained up in the ways of the Lord.

Departmental Purpose

We walk with families to grow in Christ and to inspire a love of learning in their young children.

The Essence

The Early Learning Center of Granger Community Church is a faith-based private school for young children that provides quality care and education. Honoring the family as the child’s most influential teacher, our loving and professional staff partners with those closest to the child to support safe, active learning in environments purposefully designed to inspire wonder and engage the whole child. Because we believe early childhood is the most important time for intellectual and spiritual growth, the GCC Early Learning Center is committed to helping children experience and understand the love of God throughout this brief time in their lives.

The Essentials

The future of any society rests on its ability to foster healthy development in its next generation. Through Christ, we engage our community in an educational movement to captivate the hearts and minds of our children now and for generations to come. This is accomplished by careful attention to three threads: FAITH, FAMILY AND FOUNDATION.

Our Values

1. We Value the People Jesus Values

We value children and the people in their families as God’s greatest creation, with a common goal to help each person develop to his fullest potential through Christ.

“For we are God’s masterpiece, created in the Messiah Jesus to do good works that God prepared long ago to be our way of life.” Ephesians 2:10 (ISV)

2. We Strive for Cultural Relevance

When provided with a supportive and purposefully designed learning environment, children strive to build knowledge about the world, with their families and teachers as their primary guides and navigators.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

3. We Encourage Personalized Spiritual Growth

We support experiences that nurture the character and uniqueness of each child and his or her family in close relationships with gifted followers of Jesus.

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

4. We Value Everyone Playing His or Her Part on the Team

We believe in a cooperative learning community that depends on the children, teachers and families to work together with the church to inspire a joy and wonder in learning.

“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit, and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (ESV)

5. We Value Clear Biblical Teaching

We believe that the spiritual formation of the individual is inseparable from the intellectual formation and is deepened by age-appropriate focus on Scripture.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 (NIV)

6. We Nurture Life-Giving Relationships

We believe education of the whole person is an unending, nurturing process that begins at home with the family and extends to the learning center through loving interactions with others.

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

7. We Strive for Excellence

We seek to provide the highest quality learning environment where each person is prepared to serve mentally, physically and spiritually as a future leader in Christ.

“But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 (NIV, 1984)

8. We Embrace Innovation

We embrace the most effective methods and materials in the field of education for our programs, cultivating a community of professional learners among our staff.

“…and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze,” Exodus 35:31-32 (ESV)

9. We Value Leadership

We commit to nurture the individuals called to lead in our programs, knowing their ability to show the love of Christ to children and their families is one of our greatest assets.

“He cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” Psalm 78:72 (NLT)

10. We Practice Whole-Hearted Devotion to Jesus

Our faith is what sets this educational experience apart from others. We are called to prepare our own hearts and minds in Christ in order to serve others.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

11. We Engage in Community Transformation

The future of any society rests on its ability to foster healthy development in its next generation. Through Christ, we engage our community in an educational movement to captivate the hearts and minds of our children now and for generations to come.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)