About Us

Mission Statement: Our mission is to grow lifelong learners and confident, caring individuals.
Philosophy: Our philosophy is to foster every child’s learning ability by providing a wide range of open-ended experiences that encourage the children to become capable learners and to grow cognitively, socially, emotionally, and physically. The children are loved, cared for, and nurtured to help them reach their full potential.

Accreditation, Quality Rating, Licensing

Friends Early Learning Center is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), http://naeyc.org/ an organization that works to promote high-quality early learning. Founded in 1926, it continues to advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession, and it supports all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. NAEYC accreditation is the gold standard for early childhood programs across the country. Accreditation is a rigorous process and is only awarded when all standards are met. Families whose children attend such a program can be confident that it delivers the highest quality early care and education.

Paths to Quality, http://childcareindiana.org/ is Indiana’s voluntary statewide rating system for early care and education programs. Each time a program advances to the next level, it demonstrates a commitment to supporting children’s development, learning, and future success in school and life. Friends Early Learning Center has achieved Level 4, the highest level.

Level 1 – Health and Safety: Has been recognized by the state of Indiana as having met all required health and safety standards.

Level 2 – Learning Environments: Offers opportunities for children to advance their growth and development. Has a consistent daily schedule, planned activities for children, and relevant program information for families.

Level 3 – Planned Curriculum: Demonstrates the knowledge and skill necessary for planning appropriate activities and opportunities that lead children toward school readiness. Makes a significant investment in the professional development of the staff. Incorporates family and staff input into the program.

Level 4 – National Accreditation: Achieves the highest level of professionalism in high-quality child care by being accredited by a national organization.

State Licensing, http://www.in.gov/fssa/ Friends Early Learning Center is licensed by the state of Indiana and is inspected yearly to make sure it continues to meet all standards.


Our teaching staff is made up of dedicated early childhood professionals who are committed to this profession. To better serve our community of young children and our team’s learning environment, our teachers must have completed or be in the process of completing a nationally-sponsored CDA Credential (Child Development Associate) or a degree in the field of Early Childhood. Because we understand the importance of higher education, we sponsor our employees in a scholarship program that helps cover the cost of their classes. In addition, our teaching staff is required to have 24 hours of training annually in a variety of topics related to Early Childhood Education. The framework for all teaching practices and training is aligned with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). All teachers sign a Statement of Commitment, which includes their pledge to honor the ideals and principles of the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct.


There are two separate buildings at Friends, one for infants and toddlers, and one for preschoolers. Both buildings have door codes for restricted entrance, and both of them pass yearly inspections from State Licensing, the Food Program, and the Fire Marshall. Each room has an outside door that is used as a fire exit. In addition, security cameras are installed in each classroom and in the hallways.

There are six outdoor playgrounds so that multiple classes may be outside at the same time. Each playground has its own equipment, allowing for a variety of physical exercise and play.

Educational toys and materials: All classes have an ample supply of toys and materials, carefully chosen to be just right for the ages and developmental stages of the children in that room.

Hours and Days of Operation

Infants to age 2½: 7:00 am to 5:30 pm

Ages 2½ and up: 7:00 am to 5:30 pm

We are only closed 9 days of the year. In the winter, we are open even when the schools are closed, unless a Snow Emergency has been declared.


Friends Early Learning Center has been owned and operated by Clara Stalvey since 2002, and she has very high standards for what she believes a great early childhood program should be. Each and every year, she continues to make improvements in all aspects of the program. Clara places the highest value on the precious little children who are part of Friends, and she also highly values the families and the teachers, treating everyone with the utmost respect. In her mind, it is not enough to just “get by,” so she continues to strive for the highest possible level of excellence. Friends could not be what it is without her strong passion and her tireless work.

Commitment to Excellence

It is our desire and policy to provide a program that meets and exceeds requirements from NAEYC Accreditation, Paths to Quality, and State Licensing. In addition, it is our policy to create an atmosphere of respect, cooperation, and collaboration among the staff, the families, and the community so we can continue to achieve and maintain the highest level of excellence for the sake of all the children.