Small Steps Learning Center, an NHS Preschool and Childcare Center
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Small Steps Learning Center Youngstown/Latrobe

Welcome to Small Steps Learning Center, an NHS Preschool and Childcare Center in Youngstown, PA! We opened our doors in 2015, and we are excited to share information about our services. Small Steps Learning Center Youngstown/Latrobe was awarded in August 2016 with a Keystone STARS 1 (Keystone STARS is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to improve, support and recognize continuous quality improvement efforts of early learning programs in Pennsylvania). Our highly-skilled staff are trained in many areas including how to effectively work with students with special needs. Students are taught using the Creative Curriculum Model. If you have any questions about our program, please contact us at 724.532.2302.

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Program Spotlight

07.12.2017 - Small Steps Learning Center opened in Youngstown, PA in 2015 as a natural progression to the already existing continuum of care the Education and Autism Division has to offer. This childcare center is for students of all abilities, but specializes in those children with autism and other developmental delays. Small Steps utilizes the forward-thinking, comprehensive, research-based and research-proven Creative Curriculum to create a high-quality learning environment through hands-on, project-based investigations. Small Steps participates in Keystone Stars which is the quality rating system in Pennsylvania and also accepts child care subsidy for families that are eligible.

Small Steps Learning Center participated in the Ligonier 4th of July Day Parade! Maria, a dedicated Small Steps Staff and her husband along with many other volunteers designed a float that was a Trolley for Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. The kiddos stole the show and received a lot of cheers and clapping. Everyone had a great time interacting with the crowd and handing out Small Steps Learning Center tattoos! We had one of the biggest floats there and can’t wait until Fort Days in the fall to do it all over again!

Program Spotlight Program Spotlight

Program Spotlight Program Spotlight

Carrie Airhart, Director of Operations for Small Steps Learning CenterCarrie Airhart, Director of Operations for Small Steps Learning Center and the NHS Schools on the Western side of Pennsylvania had the opportunity to be a guest on WCNS Radio as a representative from the Greater Latrobe Laurel Valley Community Chamber of Commerce on Friday, July 7th. She was featured on the Good Morning Greater Latrobe Section and shared information about the NHS Schools, Stepping Stones and Small Steps Learning Center. Check out the Radio Clip on the WCNS Website and go to about 25 minutes in to hear Carrie!

“It was such a honor to be able to share the NHS mission and vision with the Greater Latrobe community. Our focus on opening new continuums of care in early childhood education has been a fulfilling process. We are so excited to provide quality education to early learners who are just making their first steps to formal education!” – Carrie Airhart

NOV 25, 2016 - Black Friday Drop-Off Care @Small Steps Youngstown

11.07.2016 - View Offer!
Black Friday Drop-Off Care @Small Steps Youngstown Are you planning to go shopping, but are worried about who will care for your child? Small Steps Youngstown offers a one day only, special rate for children ages 6 months - 5 years!

November 25, 2016 | 6:30 am - 5:30 pm | $45/Day
One Day Only / Limited Space
Call today to reserve your spot by 11/23!
- 724-532-2302 -
421 Main St, Latrobe, PA 15650
(Behind Sacred Heart Catholic Church)

Join Us for Open House and Tour of the Small Steps Learning Center

04.23.2016 - View invite!
Small Steps Learning Center - Open House and Tour

The first NHS Preschool Receives Full Licensure

07.21.2015 - Congratulations to the first NHS Preschool, located in Youngstown, PA, on receiving full licensure from Department of Human Services (DHS) on July 21! This is a significant achievement for the entire NHS Human Services Education and Autism Division since it is the first licensure review and site inspection of an NHS managed preschool. The Small Steps Learning Center, opening its doors this summer, will offer pre-K readiness services for children ages 3-5 with and without developmental delays.

Executive Vice President of the NHS Schools, Karen Markle, states, "We are very excited to open this preschool, and look forward to providing our students with an education that will prepare them for kindergarten. We will also support families in fostering a learning environment outside of the classroom as a result of our highly engaged and creative curriculum that models best practices. I am extremely proud of our team, including Executive Director Heather Tustin and Operations/ Development Specialist Cori Shepler who spent tireless hours preparing for the inspection. We look forward to replicating the Preschool program across more NHS Schools throughout 2015 and 2016!"
NHS Preschools
Being a first-time mom, I was very hesitant to enroll our daughter in a daycare program. It happened in an emergency situation that I was without an in-home caregiver and asked NHS if I could bring her “only for a few days”. After the second day, I was sold. At eight months, my daughter was making friends (this was her first time away from family) and learning new skills. It did not take long for me to be convinced that a daycare/preschool setting would greatly benefit her in the long run. While she is only enrolled two days a week, her days hold more than I would ever imagine she would be ready to handle. Before her first birthday, she was painting, playing with PlayDoh, climbing “big kid” slides, and participating in all sorts of other activities. NHS has an amazing staff and a low student-teacher ratio, which means tons of individual attention for each child. I cannot recommend NHS highly enough. - Heather, parent
NHS Preschools

NHS Preschools
Being a single mom, it can be hard to find childcare, let alone affordable and effective childcare. I had first seen the pictures of Small Steps on Facebook, where they were advertising their enrollment. I was having issues with the daycare my son was currently enrolled in, so I had contacted Small Steps. The director, Carrie, was as nice as can be, and worked with my schedule to setup a tour. When l entered the building, my first thought was "the pictures don't do this daycare justice." The building is completely secure and safe (it's an old Catholic School building), there's a new playground on the property, each room is setup differently; there's a motor skills room, a dramatic play room with a stage, there's a computer room for the older children, and the main room they spend a good bit of time in has a sliding board, ball pit mountain, amongst toys and books the children can easily access. I have never seen a daycare offer a quarter of what Small Steps offers to their families.

The teachers, Miss Becca, and Miss Maria are wonderful! They have the necessary skills and education to work at the daycare, but most of all, they have caring hearts who want the best for our children just as much as we do as parents. Educationally, Small Steps has done wonders for my son! What is being taught at home is carried over into the daycare, and what they teach my son I carry over at home. They try their best to work with the parents. Everything the staff does with the children is educational; this is obvious by the knowledge my son has gained over the past month since he first began going.

What attracted me at first to Small Steps was the setup of the daycare and all of the different activities and toys they have available to the kids. Once my son began going, the caring attitudes of all of the staff was what made the transition much easier than other daycares we have tried. I plan to keep my son enrolled until they tell me he can no longer attend. I have nothing but positive things to say about Small Steps, and I promise, if you contact them, it will be one of the best decisions you can make for your child(ren).
- Kayla Watt, parent
NHS Preschools

School Address:
425 Main Street, Youngstown, PA 15696 (behind Sacred Heart Catholic Church) (GPS location: 421 Main St., Latrobe, PA 15650)
School Phone Number: 724-532-2302
Education and Autism Services Administration Office Number: 724-532-2302

Carrie Airhart Name: Carrie Airhart | Title: Director

Maria BeluschokName: Maria Beluschok | Title: Teacher Assistant

Biography: My name is Maria and I am proud to work at Small Steps Learning Center, where we have the most amazing children! I was born in Venezuela, South America, and have been living in the United States for about seven years. Speaking two languages (Spanish & English) allows me to incorporate them both in my class. I love that I get to use my degree in graphic design and get creative and playful with our kids! I have been working with infants and toddlers for six years. I am married to Jason, who loves restoring antique tractors and cars. We recently adopted two beautiful cats named Jenny and Grace. I enjoy exercising, traveling, and gardening in my free time.
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