Miss Pat

tells us how it all started...

St. Gabriel’s Good Shepherd Learning Center’s inception came about after the leaders of St. Gabriel’s met and formed a committee in 1998. To be good stewards of the Church building the hope was to make use of the building Monday through Friday, not just on Saturday and
Sunday for worship services. After much research, prayer, discernment, and hard work by the leaders, vestry, and our then Rector, Cannon Calvin Adams the Learning Center was conceived.

We opened our doors on August 29, 2000, with fourteen kindergarten/school age children for before and after care. In the years following we created a preschool / pre-k program and a toddler program. 


In 2004 a tragic automobile accident took the life of the Early Learning
Academy’s owner/operator which began a chain of events leading us to provide an important ministry and do the work of Jesus. After much prayer and discussion, we concluded we needed to offer our assistance. Our enrollment doubled, our infant program was begun, and the Academy was incorporated under our license with the assistance of the Department of Public Welfare.

The following year we moved into the new church addition which was built for St. Gabe’s expanding Sunday School program and the Learning Center’s increasing enrollment. 


In 2005 we were also awarded a STAR 1 in Keystone STARS. We moved to a STAR 2 in 2006, followed by a STAR 3 in 2008, and after demanding work and determination a STAR 4 in 2014.

In 2007 we began a partnership with our neighbors the Keystone Villa, a retirement community, which continues to this day and is an important part of our mission and ministry. Our Learning Center children participate in story time every week and other activities throughout the year with the residents. Chapel time began in 2012 with our then interim priest the Reverend Paul Bresnahan. Our Rector, Reverend Andrew VanBuren continues this program with our Preschool, Pre-K and School Age children.

2020 started out as any other year and quickly changed to a challenging time. We closed our doors in March due to the pandemic. While we were closed, we offered story times for our families and created spirit days to assist us in continuing our relationships. We missed caring for the children and the families we served. In June, we reopened with a decreased enrollment and staff under strict COVID-19 policies and procedures. It was challenging and stressful at times, but we celebrated the opportunity to care for and educate the children we had built relationships with. Enrollment throughout the summer increased with several families returning and new families being enrolled.

An important part of the Learning Center’s history and culture is our participation in many outreach ministries to families beyond the Douglassville community. We have been fortunate to participate in the Hop-A-Thon for Muscular Dystrophy, Trike-A-Thon for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Kajo Keji for the schools in the Sudan and Salvation Army Angel Tags.

We have grown, been challenged at times over the years and continue to provide an important ministry to the Douglassville community. The Learning Center continues to make a difference in children’s lives by supporting families and educating and caring for children in a Christian environment.


We are committed to instilling a lifelong love of learning through the
understanding of early childhood development, providing a safe and supportive environment enriched by Christian values. 


“Caring for the Good Shepherd’s Children by Nurturing the Child Within.”

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