Early learning programs will begin in fall 2019
Early learning programs will begin in fall 2019
Posted on 10/11/2018
Early learning programs will begin in fall 2019

First they put the Ant on the Apple. Then they practice writing the letter “A”.  Next, they learn counting skills while moving to music and listening to a song.

These are a few of the activities observed recently in Ms. Hylton’s preschool classroom at Carson Elementary.

Carson Elementary
Students are learning more than counting and ABC’s. For example, they use an interactive Smartboard while taking turns in front of the class, showing other students how to do the lesson.

Beginning in September 2019, many more preschool age children will have opportunities to attend early learning programs through the Puyallup School District. In order to increase opportunities for young children to prepare for kindergarten, the Board of Directors voted unanimously last March to implement a regionalized preschool and an early entrance kindergarten program.

These two programs provide another option for families. Early learning opportunities such as those found in a preschool increase equity, equal opportunity, and high performance for students.

The preschool is in addition to the special education preschool program currently serving students in Puyallup schools.

A report presented to the school board on October 1, 2018 by Vince Pecchia, chief instructional leadership officer, and Michelle Cruckshank, Shaw Road Elementary principal, provided an update on progress. A 12 member committee, which includes preschool and kindergarten teachers, district staff, and building principals, is collaborating to research and choose curriculum, work with facilities on educational specifications and space needs, prepare a screening process, and identify staffing needs. They meet monthly and will present their findings to the school board in the spring 2019.

 “The 2019-2020 school year provides many wonderful opportunities for our youngest learners.”    Vince Pecchia, chief instructional leadership officer

Using a regional concept to provide opportunities for families throughout the district, the regionalized preschool program will be phased in over two years. Classes will begin in the fall of 2019 at Firgrove and Maplewood elementary schools. Region 1 preschool will begin at Pope Elementary in the fall of 2020.

The preschool program will be half-day sessions with morning and afternoon options. Four classes will be offered per region — two sessions in the morning and two in the afternoon. Each session will serve approximately 22 students.

There will be a tuition fee to participate. In order to provide affordability and access for low income families there will be an opportunity for free or reduced pricing to those who qualify.

Kindergarten Academy
Recognizing that not all children have access to preschool, the school board approved the implementation of an early entrance kindergarten program called Kindergarten Academy.

In the State of Washington students must be five years of age by August 31 to enroll in kindergarten. The Kindergarten Academy is designed as an early entrance full-day kindergarten program for students who turn five after August 31 and will be five the following school year. It will be funded by state revenue and there will be no cost to families.

Current committee work will determine candidate outreach, assessment and screening process, and curriculum philosophy.

Increased capacity in the new and rebuilt elementary schools as a result of the 2015 School Construction and Facility Improvements Bond will provide classroom space to support the preschool classrooms and Kindergarten Academy. Both the preschool program and early entrance kindergarten will be strategically located amongst the three regions in the district. This will provide options for local access for families.