The NT

Helen Lieber Early Learning Academy (HLELA), in Hartford City, has achieved a Level 3 rating in Paths to QUALITY™. Paths to QUALITY is Indiana’s quality rating and improvement system for childcare programs. It is a consistent set of standards to help parents identify licensed family childcare centers, licensed family childcare homes, and unlicensed registered ministries that have met state requirements for health and safety. HLELA is also accepting Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) vouchers for those families that need assistance with their daycare costs. As a new site for On My Way Pre-k, HLELA can continue to offer kindergarten readiness to those families needing assistance as well.  Registration for On My Way Pre-k will be announced at a later date.

Natalie McIntire, of Helen Lieber Early Learning Academy explained what this new rating will mean for the children under her/their care. “This is one more step we are taking to constantly improve the quality of our childcare and early education program.” HLELA teaches a curriculum that aligns with the Indiana State Standards, which is used in all the classrooms to ensure that the children are ready for kindergarten when they leave the daycare. Paths to QUALITY will provide additional training for the director and staff.  This training ensures that the program, and the staff, continue to meet all the standards for the level(s) reached. The training also keeps the staff up to date on education research so the learning environments, daily schedules and activities are engaging and allow the children to learn through exploration and experimentation as well as allowing them to work on their social-emotional skills they will need for kindergarten and beyond.

Paths to QUALITY is a voluntary statewide system created to improve the quality of childcare and early education for children. It gives all families a tool to find the best quality program for their needs and supports and recognizes providers on a four-level rating system. The system has been studied and validated by the Child Development and Family Studies experts at Purdue University.

HLELA, formerly known as Helen Lieber Preschool, has been a place for children to learn and grow for more than 60 years. The preschool originally started as a kindergarten then transitioned into a preschool serving hundreds of children over the years. In 2018, it transitioned again to provide all-day care with preschool as well as the half day programs for children ages 3-5. Phase out of the half day program is in progress and all-day care will be the only offering available going forward.  Helen Lieber’s mission was to provide quality early education for the children in Blackford County. That mission still holds true today as HLELA not only provides the quality early education, but also the quality daycare that many families want and need for their little ones.

HLELA currently has openings for daycare. The hours of availability are 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. If your child will turn 3 or 4 years old by September 1 and you need quality daycare that includes preschool, please call 765-302-8671 for more information. You may also make contact by email at