Walton Village Learning Spaces grand opening

While overflowing preschools throughout the Greater Atlanta area are having to turn away potential students, United Way of Greater Atlanta opened up its 15th Learning Space in the Walden Village affordable living community. This new Learning Spaces location, which offers services to build an early educational foundation at zero cost, is open to all children under five and their caregivers

“Learning Spaces partnered with Walton Village to be able to offer the early-learning experience for parents here so that they have a place to come and bring their child once a week—to explore, to be creative, to be nurtured, and for our parents to feel empowered to become advocates for their child’s learning,” says Patrice Laird-Walker, Partnership Manager of Early Learning at United Way of Greater Atlanta.

After launching in 2016, the program has expanded to five counties in the Greater Atlanta area; the Learning Space at Walton Village marks the 3rd of its kind in Cobb County. This significant investment in early childhood development is an important step towards readying children for grade school in all the ways that matter.

“It takes a village. We are part of this collective work to make sure that our children are ready when they enter school,” explains Laird-Walker.

Children are introduced to material that enriches their learning experience.

Not unlike the Learning Spaces that preceded it, the Learning Space at Walton Village provides enriching opportunities for caregivers and children. These opportunities include guided play, reading time, and interactive performances from the Alliance Theatre.

What sets Walton Village apart, however, is its location in an affordable living community. The newest Learning Space being tucked away in the Adventure Center at Walton Village allows residents to have easy access to its services. But this programming isn’t exclusive to residents–all children under five and their caregivers all welcome to join.

One parent highlights the importance of proximity to a development center like United Way’s Learning Spaces, “The opportunity for children to socialize, to be with other children. That’s a key advantage for me.”

Learning Spaces provide toys and activities to promote children’s foundational growth.

Investing in children’s futures is no small task. With a multitude of factors impacting development at crucial stages, where do you start? To help guide its practices, United Way of Greater Atlanta launched the Child Well-Being Movement, a data-driven approach to bettering the lives of kids in Atlanta and the surrounding area. 

“Child well-being guides our work. We are really able to home in on the needs of a specific community. We use the data to guide everything that we do and align the work that United Way has with what the community needs,” says Patrice Laird-Walker

Part of ensuring child well-being is to create strong learners by intervening early in a child’s education journey. Specifically, it is imperative to build a foundation for literacy before the 3rd grade and a foundation for math before the 8th grade. According to the data, a lack of early childhood providers in a certain area directly correlates to both low 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math scores. By introducing opportunities for free early childhood education in these areas, United Way of Greater Atlanta  hopes to see improvements in these scores that are so crucial to a child’s academic achievement.

One parent who utilizes Learning Spaces happens to be an educator herself. She highlights the importance of having access to free early childhood education, “As an educator and knowing what the research says, this age—the things that they learn, the ways that they learn to socialize—that’s all the things that are going to set them up for success in school and in life.”

Another parent notes that the skills learned extend past the doors of the Learning Spaces, “It helps me pay attention a lot so when I go home, I’m now practicing small things with [my children] as well.”

Children and parents learn how to grow together

The Walton Village Learning Space offers services every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m in the Adventure Center located within the complex. 

The address is:

1570 Roberta Drive SW

Marietta, GA 30008

If you’d like to contribute to the Child Well-Being Mission Fund, you can do that here. All proceeds go towards furthering United Way’s goal of promoting children’s success within all communities of the Greater Atlanta area.


This is sponsored content.

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