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Facts about, changes in pre-school rings the bell

Christopher and Zachary enjoy their morning in the pre-school at the Castle Valley Center.

Sun Advocate publisher

Board discusses changes, competition with private business

Pre-school is a good start for small children to get into the world of education and socialization with other children. Over the years many private pre-schools have emerged around the area, along with those that are hosted in the public school buildings. This has led to some tension concerning the private versus public issue.

Carbon School District presently runs a number of pre-schools for three and four year old children. There is a two year waiting list to get into the classes for these young students. There are also some fairly strict rules on how these schools can operate and what kinds of students need to be in those classes.

At the Carbon School Board meeting on Feb. 13 discussion about the programs and what is

going on with them became fairly lively, as board members have had concerns voiced to them by community members about the classes and in particular one change the district will be making in moving one of the pre-school classes that has been held at the Castle Valley Center to Wellington Elementary.

Carbon County School board member Lee McCourt broached the subject during her monthly report to the board on Feb. 13. She had some questions about the situation based on contact from some parents in the district.

"How many students are being moved to Wellington?" she asked Cox.

Cox told her that two sessions were being moved of about 14 students per session with a total of four sessions. He said that one class that will be held will be for three year olds and the other for four years olds.

One of the questions that arose during the discussion was the mix of students and how they would be transported.

"Students whose parents are paying for the pre-school will have to transport the students there," said Cox. "Some that qualify for the classes that are special education students we will transport."

The state requires the district to include special education students that can be put in the mainstream of education in the pre-schools as well.

McCourt also said that she was concerned about the competition that the pre-schools in the public schools pose to the private pre-schools in the area.

"The state tells us we cannot undersell the privately owned schools in the area," said Cox. "The charges for our services must be close to the same as theirs."

Board President Wayne Woodward asked about the availability of private schools to be able to take on special needs students.

Cox said that the school district has curriculum that must be followed but that only speech services are offered from the district in the private schools.

"That is required by the state," said Cox.

There will still be pre-school offered at the Castle Valley Center after the move, but what the move will do is free up a classroom that has traditionally been for adult education purposes. That space has been missed by some since the pre-school had moved in it.

The district does get early intervention money to help fund the pre-schools. Under state parameters the schools must be inclusionary.

Importance of early education experience cannot be overlooked by district, parents

This part of the article is written by Beverly Martinez, Carbon School District Preschool Coordinator.

Carbon School District will be expanding its preschool options in the coming year.

Wellington Elementary will begin offering preschool in the fall of 2013. The preschool at Wellington will be similar to the successful preschools at Creekview and Bruin Point Elementary Schools.

The preschool at Wellington Elementary will serve families who live in both the Wellington Elementary and Castle Heights Elementary catchment areas. Each family will need to provide their own transportation to and from preschool.

There will be slots funded through Special Education for children who have disabilities or developmental delays. For those that have concerns about their child's development the school district will be hosting a CHILD FIND at the district offices during the month of March. Screenings will include speech and language, cognitive, adaptive, social, motor, hearing and vision.

For those that have concerns about their child's development please call Beverly Martinez at 637-9150 for a CHILD FIND appointment.

Tuition is waived for children qualifying for special education services.

This year Carbon School District provides preschool services to 112 special education students and 45 regular education students. They are presently being served at the Castle Valley Center, Creekview Elementary, Bruin Point Elementary, Head Start, the Utah State University Eastern Preschool, and at various private preschools in the community. The school district also provides drop in speech therapy services at the district office for children who just need help with speech sounds.

The preschool years are marked by a period of rapid growth and development. Children need to be experiencing their world through observing, questioning, and experimenting. The growth and development that happen in the preschool years provide the foundation for all later learning.

Carbon District preschool staff use the Creative Curriculum, which is a developmentally appropriate, play based approach to learning. It is adapted to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities. This curriculum is one of the few endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and by the Utah State Office of Education. District preschools also use Utah's Early Childhood Core Standards to guide instruction.

Slots at the Wellington Elementary pre-school will be limited, and will be filled on a first come basis. Tuition will be $75 a month for the 4 year old classes, (which will run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and $50 a month for the 3 year old classes (which will run Tuesday and Thursday). Classes will be 2 hours each.

For those interested in having their child attend Wellington Elementary Preschool in the fall please call Beverly Martinez at 637-9150.

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