Located on Halifax Avenue just beyond downtown Lynchburg, Mary Bethune Academy is a non-profit early childhood education center, serving children ages 6-Weeks to 5-Years of age. We serve the entire Lynchburg community and surrounding areas, with a focus on inner-city, at-risk children and their families.

Mary Bethune Academy is proud to be a United Way partner agency and a certified “Success by Six” Center, which focuses on kindergarten readiness for every child. Our dedicated staff of trained teachers, some of whom have been employed at Mary Bethune Academy for over 25 years, work diligently to provide a safe and nurturing child care experience for everyone.

Our center was proudly named after Mary McLeod Bethune, who was born in South Carolina to former slaves over a decade after the end of the Civil War. She was the 15th of 17 children and, during her lifetime, obtained a formal education, became a teacher, and opened both a school and hospital. One of her most famous quotes, “Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough” has become one of Mary Bethune’s Academy guiding mottos, serving as a reminder to the importance of the work we do for the community’s children.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide a quality program that promotes a nurturing and enriching early childhood learning experience. We encourage accomplishment and strive for excellence for children during their formative years.

In providing services to children and their families, Mary Bethune Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, disability, cultural heritage, political beliefs, marital status, national origin or sexual origin.

Our History

Mary Bethune Academy was the first child care system in Lynchburg, established in 1936 by the Works Program Administration to provide childcare for parents to pursue employment opportunities. In 1953, the center relocated to the former south Lynchburg Public School on Halifax Avenue and in 2006, the Board of Directors voted to officially change the center’s name to Mary Bethune Academy to better identify its namesake and the children and families it served.


Our Standards

Mary Bethune Academy is licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and is regularly inspected and approved by the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia State Fire Marshall. Teachers at Mary Bethune Academy receive a minimum of 20 hours of annual training.

Mary Bethune Academy is also a licensed Child Care Subsidy Program vendor, providing services to families receiving financial assistance through VDSS to pay a portion of the cost of child care so they can work or participate in education or training programs.

Our Facility

Located in a former elementary school building, our classrooms are large and sunny. Children have ample space to move around, experiencing different play centers, and to engage in free play and story time. There are separate playground areas for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, as well as a large grassy area in the back to be used for “backyard” activities.

We pride ourselves in running a safe and secure facility. All guests must pass through an electronically locked gate before they can enter the school, and we have intercom and camera systems in place to monitor everything that happens at our school.

Our Food

Mary Bethune Academy offers a tasty and nutritious breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack to all children who receive care. We encourage each child to try new foods, but never force them to eat anything they do not want. A monthly menu is posted on the Parent Board in our main lobby.

When you enroll your child, please make the teacher aware of any allergies or other food-related issues. We will make every effort to accommodate your child and his or her specific needs. If you have any questions or concerns about our menu, please contact our Main Office.

Field Trips

At Mary Bethune Academy, we know that kids learn more when they can see, hear and interact! Throughout the year, our classes have the opportunity to attend fun and educational field trips – all which give them the opportunity to learn and explore this new and exciting world around them!