Ministry Village Early Learning Center Dedicates Its Work to God

 In Ministry Village, Ministry Village Early Learning Center

On Sunday, September 23, Olive Baptist Church hosted a dedication service for the new Ministry Village Early Learning Center. Stan Lollar, Executive Director of Ministry Village at Olive, shared a bit of the 3 year journey that brought MVO to the completion of this $1.6M project.

More than 3 years ago, as more and more research was revealed showing the challenges faced by a community with subpar early childhood education outcomes, the Board of Directors for Ministry Village identified an opportunity to provide high quality child care with Christ at the center, while reaching families and children throughout our community. The seeds were planted for what would become the Ministry Village Early Learning Center.

During Sunday night’s dedication service, Mark Faulkner, President and CEO of Baptist Health Care and a member of the Achieve Escambia Leadership Council, spoke about how vital early childhood education is to a strong and vibrant community. Children from the Olive Baptist Children’s Ministry performed for the audience and brought smiles and laughter as they reminded everyone of exactly who stands to benefit from this type of work and the precious lives that are seeking guidance and support.

Ministry Village ELC’s Director Kristi Zagar shared her vision and focus for the ELC. Among the things Mrs. Kristi shared were her 3 main points:

  1. “Jesus is going to be first in our school.” With daily scripture, Bible stories, and throughout all the foundations of learning, Jesus will be the focus at the ELC so the children will have a foundation of truth and moral courage to carry them throughout their lives;
  2. Building a strong bond between the child and the caregiver will be vital and will help in school success as well as building and inspiring confidence in each child’s daily life; and
  3. The ELC will provide a strong educational base and academic success for each student. Kids learn by doing, and the Ministry Village ELC will emphasize a play-based curriculum with intentional teaching strategies in a language-rich environment focused on helping each child grow.

Pastor Ted Traylor shared the message that inspires the daily work of Ministry Village at Olive, Inc., reminding the audience that even one person can make a tremendous difference. After all, the Good Samaritan made such an impact that his story has been told for more than 2,000 years. How can someone make such an impact in his own community? By having a soft heart (noticing when there is a need), dirty hands (a willingness to actually do the work that is needed), an open wallet (needs are rarely able to be met for free), and a serving attitude (following God’s guidance to help with no personal agenda).

Bob Price, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Directors for Ministry Village at Olive, Inc., led the MVO Board and the congregation in prayer over the families who will be served through the ELC, as well as the staff members who have already joined the team. Following the time of prayer, everyone walked across the Olive parking lot to the new Ministry Village Early Learning Center where staff members were waiting to greet everyone and answer questions for prospective families. Guests enjoyed delicious treats from Olive Catering while visiting the 11 classrooms within the 9,500 square foot building.

Mrs. Kristi and her staff will be putting the final touches on the ELC during the next few weeks. The installation of interactive playground equipment and the addition of colorful artwork throughout the facility are just two of the exciting details planned. Licensing through the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Association of Christian Schools International is underway, and opening day will be announced as soon as that process is complete.

“We really appreciate the support of the community – it has meant so much to us on this journey,” said Mrs. Kristi. “We hope that you will continue to support us by praying for the children and families we will serve, praying for our staff members, and praying that God will be glorified through the work of the Ministry Village ELC.”

🍎 Information including tuition and registration is available on the website.

✏️ Families are invited to contact Mrs. Kristi by email at or by phone at (850) 490-3436 for further details or to pre-register your child.

☑️ For the latest ELC announcements, follow the Ministry Village Early Learning Center Facebook page (@MinistryVillageELC).

📸 Click here to view photos from the Dedication Service and the Open House.

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