"An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer"

Ida Barbour Early Learning Center – New Discoveries

Look into the eyes of every child and you will see their eagerness to learn. There’s a spark with each new discovery. And each new discovery is a step in the pathway to future learning. At Ida Barbour Early Learning Center, we prepare each child for success in school, in community, and in life. Our aim is to enhance quality of life for at-risk children and their families by providing care in a safe, nurturing, and highly enriching environment. Our staff of loving, giving, and nurturing educators focuses every effort toward providing each child with the best opportunity to succeed in life.

Our Vision

Historic Ida Barbour Early Learning Center is a welcoming, safe, healthy and stimulating environment that facilitates the educational, personal and physical development of children and their families.

Our Mission

Ida Barbour Early Learning Center will prepare children for success in school, success in the community and success in life.

Join US For Give Local 757

Save the date!

IBELC is proud to be a part of this year’s Give Local 757 event, to take place May 12, 2020! This 24-hour day of giving is a fantastic way to support local nonprofit organizations… from the comfort of your own home! We hope you’ll JOIN US on giving day by supporting our Center as we continue to prepare children for success in school, in the community, and in life!

Click here to donate!

Meet Gwendolyn Farmer!

Gwendolyn Farmer has enjoyed watching lots of children grow and succeed during their years at Ida Barbour. Mrs. Farmer is very experienced in her field and an important asset to Ida Barbour.
Before joining Ida Barbour Early Learning Center nine years ago, she was working at Appletree Early Learning Center. Appletree Early Learning Center is a facility for children throughout Hampton Roads with various locations. Within her two-year tenure, Gwendolyn developed numerous skills as a teacher to bring to Ida Barbour. Today, Mrs. Farmer is dedicated with all her heart to our children. If you ask her why she loves her profession, she will tell you, to watch the kids grow by facilitating their learning with her help is her greatest joy. To share those happy moments with them when they succeed makes her happy and proud. Often it doesn’t feel like work for Gwendolyn to go through the daily routine at Ida Barbour. She states:

“I enjoy the culture of Ida Barbour as we are truly a close knit family. Also, I am an advocate of our curriculum that focuses on interactive learning.”

Ida Barbour Early Learning Center is a close, relatively small community with ability to grow. Ibelc will go far. In the current setting there is a focus on community. The children know each other and the staff. Life long bonds can be formed – a second family, a safe place.

With newest approaches like interactive learning, which Mrs. Farmer pointed out, the facility definitely is up-to-date and competitive. Interactive learning is hands-on training involving all senses, hearing, seeing, doing…. Plainly memorizing information is outdated and likely to be boring for the student. With interactive learning, the student is in the spotlight, not the teacher, who supports, guides and motivates instead of lecturing and preaching about even simple daily tasks, like handwashing and tying shoes. Ida Barbour encourages Imagination, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Mrs. Farmer herself is a 60-year resident of Portsmouth where most of her students also grow up. She knows the area and sure knows where to go and what to do here. This is beneficial for students and their families who she’s able to be on hand with help and advice in many aspects of their lives.
Mrs. Farmer feels she is in the right spot for work and so does her team!

Thank you Mrs. Farmer for your dedication and loyalty at Ibelc!

We Still Have Room for Your Summer Campers!

School’s over, summer just started with a long way to go! We know students and parents are ready for a break. So what will your school-aged kids do this summer?

We still have spots open in our Summer Camp at Ida Barbour for our curious fellas, hungry for knowledge, loving life. No time to be sad, no reason for it with this phenomenal line-up our teachers put together for this year’s participants.

Highlights like the Children’s Museum, Bubbles the Clown, Jonathan the Juggler, trips to the Portsmouth Police and Fire Department, Mr. Tim’s Ice cream truck, Cinemark Movies 10, Portsmouth Splash Park, Norfolk Zoo, City Park and the Portsmouth Public Library make our camps so amazing.

Who would be bored with this variety of entertainment? All those exciting features are well worth the small registration and summer activity fee to cover the cost of in-house and off-site field trips.

Open enrollment for our next camp, named “Bliss” is happening now for children up to age 7, and again:

14 spots left.

I want to encourage you to not miss that chance and allow your kids an unforgettable summer filled with friends, fun, excitement and adventure.

Hurry, quick !!!

Professional Child Care Centers Verses Care at Home

Being ready for school contributes greatly to a child’s ability to succeed academically and socially, in school and in later life. It requires physical and emotional well-being, motor development, a positive approach to new experiences, social and language skills, cognitive skills and knowledge in general.  A child’s readiness for school is impacted by many things, including home life, health, and their social environment.

At a licensed child care center, multiple employees are available to interact with and teach children, and they are there for a single purpose. They are professional caregivers and educators. Their only job is to care for and teach the children at the center, which is a different environment than being home with Mommy or Grandma, alone, where it may be tempting to have the TV or laptop as their only guide and “teacher.”

So many people view child care just as a babysitting solution for kids whose parents work. But it is SO much more than that.  It is important for children to be around other children to start developing normal social skills.  Kids thrive in child care centers, being surrounded by activity, other children, and people of all ages. Teaching kids the coping skills of dealing with new environments and people is important long before kindergarten.  Appropriate ways to behave around others is more easily grasped, and with the guidance and supervision of caregivers and educators in a professional environment, problems of many kinds (social, physical, emotional, health related, etc.) can be noted and resolved early.

It’s interesting how children learn from each other, not just from adults. Speech moves along more quickly, (potty training, too!) and there is a great improvement in confidence.

Routine and structure are important to learning. In a child care center like Ida Barbour, it is more likely your child will have an educationally enriched curriculum that encourages literacy, language development, social and emotional development, as well as age appropriate learning of math, science, and other disciplines.

Have you ever received a frantic call from a relative or other caregiver that they can’t take your child the next morning? Parents who work are either left at the last minute with what to tell their boss if they cannot be at work when they need to stay home. In a child care center, should a teacher become ill, there is always a substitute who will fill in who already knows your child.

There are advantages to staying home with your child. Every child is different and every family has a different situation. At some point, however, we highly recommend having children in a structured learning environment before they go to kindergarten.

The mission of the Ida Barbour Early Learning Center is to prepare each child for success in school, community, and life. The Ida Barbour Early Learning Center enhances the life chances for all children and their families by providing care in a safe, nurturing, and highly enriching environment.

Space is available for your child or a child you may know who is not in a learning environment right now.  We believe “Your child’s success begins here.”