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Early Learning Survey

Encuesta para Servicios de Aprendizaje Temprano

Should you be interested in this project, and especially if you have children that could benefit from, or need to access early learning services, please take our survey. We would appreciate your inputs and reflections on your current and desired services.

Si usted está interesado en este proyecto, y sobre todo si tienes niños que podrían beneficiarse, o necesita acceder a servicios de aprendizaje temprano, por favor tome nuestra encuesta. Apreciaríamos sus consideraciones y reflexiones sobre los servicios que usted está recibiendo en la actualidad y los deseados.

About Us

A Reggio inspired education is steeped in years of interdisciplinary research and is, first and foremost, centrally focused on the capabilities of ALL children. The child is not viewed in isolation but in relation with the family, other children, the teachers, the environment of the school, the community, and the wider society. The school is viewed as a system in which all these relationships, which are interconnected and reciprocal, are activated and supported(Gandini). In such an environment, children are ensured an active voice in their educational journey and ongoing meaningful opportunities to construct understanding about the world.

Click here for additional information on the Reggio Approach to early education and on the Center’s long-term objectives.

Ithaka Early Learning Center is a project sponsored by AHEPA Chapter 95 and is being developed in collaboration with the University of Delaware and the University of Patras, in Greece. The center will occupy 25,000 square feet of building 27 on Odyssey Charter School’s 35-acre Barley Mill Plaza campus. Additionally, 5,000 square feet will be dedicated to an early learning research partnership with the University of Delaware.

When at capacity, our goal is to serve over 200 children ages 6-weeks to pre-k joining us from all backgrounds. The center is reserving up to 60% of its seats to children from economically-challenged backgrounds or with other special rights.

Project implementation will occur in two phases:

  • Phase 1 – Opening in the fall of 2019 serving some 160 children ages 24 to 60 months of age, and
  • Phase 2 – Extending enrollment to infants and toddlers starting at 6-weeks of age, which is expected to occur once phase 1 implementation is successfully completed.

During 2018, the project team will focus on completing construction of the ELC by early 2019. Our goal is to re-open enrollment for the fall of 2019 during the 4th quarter of 2018, as construction is being completed.

As part of Odyssey’s education campus in Wilmington, Delaware, the Ithaka Early Learning Center will complete the spectrum of global education experiences and leveraged services currently offered to school-age children at two, dual language campus charter schools – Odyssey and Academia Antonia Alonso. The first a K-12, English – Greek school steeped in the humanities and sciences, and the second a K-5, English – Spanish project-based school. Although not to be structured as a feeder to the schools, parents of children attending the center may choose to apply to kindergarten at either school.

Mission & Vision

The Ithaka Early Learning Center (ELC), a stand-alone non-profit,  plans to establish a 200+ seat early learning center; a school where every child is respected and given the opportunity to grow and develop as a valued citizen of the world,having access to resources to build a foundation for success in life. Its mission is to operate a world-class early learning center as part of a global educational campus in Wilmington, De, and to engage in related educational fundraising activities. We expect the ELC to open in the fall of 2018, serving children ages 24 to 60 months.

The name “Ithaka” is taken from a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy, a Greek poet born in Egypt, a journalist, and civil servant. The poem is both a journey and a destination. A journey of becoming, and a destination of accomplishment, represent the essence of what the Reggio-inspired environment we hope to create will be for every child attending the school, and for their families.

Open to all children, the school, when at capacity, will hold some 132 seats for those coming from economically-challenged environments or experiencing other areas of need, and will occupy some 30,000 square feet of building 27 on OCS’ Barley Mill campus.

Our vision for the Ithaka Early Learning Center is that, through active and engaging learning experiences, students will develop a love of lifelong learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, preparing them for successful 21st century lives.

To establish a strong developmental and educational foundation for the mastery of 21st century skills, we will utilize the Reggio pedagogical approach, an evolving and growing early education philosophy championed by Loris Malaguzzi, and developed by the community of Reggio Emilia, Italy, over the course of the past 60 years. By leveraging ongoing research, reflection, and refinement, it has become the foundation of the city’s early education initiatives, has expanded into elementary education, and continues to be an inspiration for educators worldwide.

Click here for additional information on the Reggio Approach to early education and on the Center’s long-term objectives.

Roots and Evolution

For many years, the leaders of Wilmington’s Greek-American community had talked about - dreamed about - founding a very special school. Their vision was to excite students about learning and position them to succeed in life through the teaching of the Greek language, history, and culture as a portal to the Humanities and a foundation for the Arts and Sciences.

In 2004, the members of AHEPA Chapter 95 began an initiative to create Delaware’s first foreign-language/math-focused elementary charter school. Through their commitment and financial support, Odyssey Charter School (OCS) opened its first educational facility just two years later in September 2006, matriculating students in grades K-2.

In 2010 the Delaware Department of Education approved a modification allowing the school to change its grade configuration from K-5 to K-12. As the school grew, it continued to lease space on Lancaster Avenue, and acquired the St. Thomas school property on Bayard Avenue. However, these sites were insufficient to house its growing student body, and looking for a third site to further expand operations would have become too wieldy to manage effectively. The board started seeking potential campus locations to consolidate school operations and comfortably complete their growth plans.

In February 2015, on the strength of its financial results and long-term revenue projections, Odyssey secured a $34 million tax exempt bond, which made possible the purchase of a portion of the Barley Mill Plaza (BMP) Office Complex for $25 million. Odyssey’s new campus now encompasses 35 acres and six buildings that total 360,000 square feet of usable space.

OCS has consolidated all its operations at Barley Mill Plaza, and up until recently leased the St. Thomas facility to an early education provider. Unfortunately, this provider closed its 5-STAR operations on September 30, 2017. Odyssey presently occupies three buildings (#20, #21 and #22) totaling 180,000 square feet of instructional space for Grades K-10. These three buildings were retrofitted between 2015 and 2017. Extensive work was simultaneously performed to create high school-level athletic fields, a small gymnasium, and two playgrounds for students in grades K-4. We can proudly say that this initial facilities plan was accomplished on time and within a very limited budget.

Work on building 23, a campus shared services facility to house a gymnasium, 21st century library, science, and music classrooms, and in the future, a swimming pool and an auditorium, is yet to start.

Today as a K-10 school, with 1,660 students, Odyssey is Delaware’s first dual-language school where Modern Greek is taught as a second language. Each day, students in all grades receive 45 minutes of language and 45 minutes of mathematics—a total of 7.5 hours weekly. In addition, students receive one hour per week of instruction in Greek culture, literature, and history, plus one hour of music. Of Odyssey’s teachers, 18 are native Greek speakers. The skills learned through this dual-language instruction have enabled Odyssey’s students to exceed every required performance standard of the Delaware Department of Education. Furthermore, this past fall the Greek program introduced its Greek immersion program at the Kindergarten level, with the intent of expanding it throughout its elementary school grades.

In line with the Board’s vision for a globally-focused educational campus, building 26 – has been leased to Academia Antonia Alonso, a dual language English-Spanish project-based learning K-5 charter school. Should La Academia be interested in expanding their school operations into a middle school, the top floor of building 27 could be made available for that purpose.

Extending the campus’ reach into early childhood education will (a) strengthen the breadth of the Board’s educational vision for the campus, (b) continue to foster innovation with the introduction of the Reggio approach to early education, and (c) provide much-needed high quality early childhood seats to children and families from economically-challenged backgrounds.

Applying to Ithaka ELC

Thank you for considering the Ithaka Early Learning Center (ELC) as a possible school for your child’s early education experience. The project management team is thrilled that this new initiative is located on the Odyssey Charter School global education campus at Barley Mill Plaza. Being a part of this community will enhance the journey of children attending Ithaka, as you will have the opportunity to participate in campus-wide activities promoted by the landlord or its tenants.

Should you be interested in enrolling your child in our Reggio-inspired program, the ELC will announce its enrollment season during the 4th quarter of 2018.  We expect to start accepting applications for the fall of 2019 no later than January 15, 2019.  If you would like to pre-enroll your child(ren) please schedule an appointment by calling the ELC at (302) 689-3832.

If you are interested in pricing information, please use the original campus and community fee tables developed for the 2018 – 2019 school year as reference.  The school will continue to implement both fee tables for the 2019 – 2020 school year, the first for current and prospective members of the Odyssey Barley Mill Plaza campus community, and the second for members of our broader community interested in joining the campus community through Ithaka’s Early Learning Center.  Fee tables for the 2019 – 2020 school year will be published in December 2018.

An enrollment application can be downloaded here. One application must be completed per child being enrolled, and submitted with a one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $75 per child. Pay Fee. Please ADD SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS on the donation page and put in “Registration Fees”. Contact us with any questions.

An enrollment deposit will be required by May 1st, 2019 unless you elect to choose the early bird discount being offered through February 28, 2019. This discount applies to the monthly fees for the full school year of 2019 – 2020, which will be published in December 2018.

Currently, the scheduled ELC hours of operation are between 7:00am and 6:00pm. Program fees are for the hours of operation.

Ways to Give

Gifts of Cash: the most common methods of giving are to write a check or make a gift using your VISA or MasterCard. Most gifts are tax deductible to the extent allowed by your personal tax situation.

Securities: Many donors realize substantial tax advantages by transferring gifts of appreciated stock to Ithaka Early Learning Center. Capital gains on the amount of appreciation are avoided, and the donor receives a tax deduction for the stock’s full market value.

Matching Gifts: Many companies will match donations to Ithaka Early Learning Center by their employees. Please contact your employer’s human resources or community relations office to see if your gift can be matched.

Restricted and Unrestricted Gifts: Unrestricted gifts give Ithaka Early Learning Center the flexibility to allocate funds where and when they are most needed. However, gifts may be allocated to any one of several distinct priorities of Ithaka’s Major Gifts Initiative: a certain building, furniture fixtures & equipment, operational needs, or even campaign costs. Please indicate your interest in one of these categories on your Pledge Form.


One of the fundamental beliefs of a Reggio-inspired educational experience for our youngest children is that the endeavor be a community experience – from leveraging the local context in which an early learning center is established, to the full engagement of the staff, families and communities surrounding the children attending the school.  In the case of Ithaka it means:

  1. Fully engaging in and contributing to the Odyssey Barley Mill Plaza campus community and life. Numerous opportunities to learn from the richness of both Greek and Latin worlds, languages and cultures, to sharing the early learning world as grown through the lenses of a Reggio-inspired education.
  2. Allowing the broader communities, beyond, the immediate campus community, to become engaged in supporting the initiative.  This will be achieved through national and international partnerships that will allow for many different forms of support, be they research driven, or in-kind/ financial in nature, to commitments to environmental and continuous improvement causes.
  3. Due to the uniqueness of this education endeavor, a part of the creation of a global education campus, we see the opportunity to invite the broader Greek, Italian, Hispanic communities nationally and internationally, to contribute to the project through crowdfunding initiatives. This will also be extended to all the members and supporters of Reggio-inspired education in the United States and abroad.

Recognition of Giving

Giving to the Ithaka Early Learning Center will be recognized in many ways depending on the level of support given to the school.

  • Individuals contributing under $250 will be recognized on the website.
  • Additionally, individual contributors at the following levels will be recognized on the wall at the entrance of the Piazza (the town square that brings community together, and where we recognize community members contributing to the initiative).
    • Gold Sponsors:  $1,000 to $1,500
    • Silver Sponsors:  $500 to $999
    • Bronze Sponsors:  $250 to $499
  • All naming right sponsors will have plaques placed at the location that they are naming, and will be recognized in publications and the website. Contributions starting at $10,000 will also be recognized on a donor wall in the Atrium of the ELC.

Naming Opportunities

Areas Available for Naming Rights / Sponsorships
Proposed $

  1. The Atrium $50,000
  2. The Piazza $250,000
  3. The Café (Including the kitchen) $100,000
  4. 10 Classrooms (each) $10,000
  5. Art Studio & Materials Room $25,000
  6. UD Research Wing $150,000
  7. Future Infant Wing $150,000
  8. Future Preschool Wing $150,000
  9. Outdoor Areas
    • Interior Court $50,000
    • Garden Area (beside entrance) $50,000
    • Exterior Court (beside wetland) $50,000

TOTAL: $1,125,000

In-Kind Donations

  1. ELC Fencing
  2. Technology – laptops/desktops/tablets
  3. Office/Administration furniture and fixtures

Contact Us

Phone (302) 689-3832 | Fax (888) 316-8303
Barley Mill Plaza, Building #27 | 4401 Lancaster Pike, Wilmington, DE 19805

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