INDIANAPOLIS - A two-year grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust will help establish the Early Childhood Centers of Excellence in Indianapolis. Early Learning Indiana, which is developing the centers, says it aims to "drive quality improvement across the early childhood system."

Early Learning Indiana says the Centers for Excellence will focus on teaching improvement through professional development and technical assistance support. The first year of the program will see at least 150 visits from early childhood professionals.

"There are many factors in early education settings that contribute to child outcomes, and we feel it is important for us to deeply examine our practices and use research to help inform us on the critical components of quality teaching practices," said Karen Ruprecht, director of innovation in early education. "We are excited to develop and share this model with other early childhood professionals and to build on our existing foundation of providing high quality care to all children and families."

The implementation of the Centers of Excellence will begin at Early Learning Indiana's Day Early Learning Lilly Family Center during the first year of the $200,000 grant. Another Day Early Learning Center will be selected in the second year.

Early Learning Indiana operates 11 Day Early Learning centers throughout the city, serving over 1,300 children each year. The organization says it aims to assure the "highest level of early childhood education for children in Indiana."