The Early Learning Centre, often abbreviated to ELC, is a British retailer that sells children's toys. The ELC was established in 1974 in Swindon, England, initially as a mail order company, but now operates worldwide.
In 1985 the ELC was bought by Scottish firm John Menzies plc. In 2001 the company bought itself back, before being bought out by book shop impresario Tim Waterstone, founder of the Waterstones book stores. In 2007, the company changed hands again, this time after having been acquired by Mothercare.
The toys manufactured by the ELC are intended to aid development of social and motor skills in children and to be educational and fun. The range of products on offer are aimed at children, babies and toddlers. The company states that all of its toys pass the British and European standards for toy safety, and undergo testing that is meant to replicate real life scenarios, such as being dropped down the stairs, jumped on and licked.Toys manufactured by the ELC are often made from materials such as plywood, Chinese Maple and virgin plastics. The company produces indoor toys, such as the Rosebud ELC dolls house, and toys intended for outdoor use, like tricycles, bikes and scooters, as well as a range of paddling pools, fancy dress clothes, books and action figures. ELC shops also stock wares produced by other brands, such as Bosch and Disney.