Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning to Expand into Lancaster County
Catherine Hershey Schools for Early Learning (CHS) announced today at an event at Eden Resort & Suites in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, that it will open three Early Childhood Education Centers (ECECs) in Lancaster County to serve children from birth to age 5 from economically disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds. The cost-free Centers will be located in Lancaster City, New Danville, and Elizabethtown.
At today’s event, Lancaster County community leaders and child advocates heard from CHS and Milton Hershey School (MHS) leadership about their approach to providing accessible early childhood education. CHS intends to support and work collaboratively with existing Lancaster County organizations to serve local children and families. City of Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace also spoke, explaining how the addition of the CHS Centers will positively impact the broader Lancaster County community.
The three CHS Centers in Lancaster County are part of a $350 million initiative to initially develop six ECECs in the state as subsidiaries of MHS. Each will offer a non-residential, year-round core early learning program with a curriculum designed to enhance children’s educational, social, and emotional development. It also will provide children with nutritious meals, transportation, and other needed supplies, along with integrated support services to families of enrolled children. All of this will be provided with all costs covered to qualifying families.
Today’s announcement was suitably made during Founders Week at MHS, which celebrates the anniversary of Milton and Catherine Hershey establishing the school 113 years ago. The Hersheys’ legacy is deeply rooted in Lancaster County, making this expansion especially meaningful. Milton Hershey spent his childhood in Bart Township and, as an adult, opened the Lancaster Caramel Company. Lancaster County is also where Milton and Catherine Hershey spent the early years of their marriage and invested in the Lancaster community through their support of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Franklin & Marshall College, and Catherine’s service as an inaugural member of the Lancaster Charity Society.
The Lancaster County CHS Centers are expected to begin opening in 2026.