Candy Tingstad, M.A. Human Development, Little Church on the Prairie Preschool, Board Chair
Tight budget, busy schedule, and other reasonable obstacles might prevent you from seeking quality early childhood education for your young child. The benefits far outweigh the downside of fitting one more thing into the life of a 3, 4 or 5 year old, and parents.
Lakewood is home to many early learning opportunities. Preschools taught by experienced, enthusiastic, caring teachers offer an immeasurable return on your time, and resources. Research clearly proves the long time benefit of quality early education.
Quality programs offer early math, pre-reading/reading, science, music, language and problem solving skills, in a play-rich setting. More importantly, learning to care for others, communicate effectively, wait, negotiate, and attend, are skills critical for life, and success in school.
Although there is some interest in the state legislature in early childhood education, it is unlikely preschool will be provided for all children for many years, if ever. The money is not there. Head Start, ECEAP, and other school district programs meet the needs of many, but not all, children with special needs or limited resources.
Private preschools serve diverse groups of children. They are typically divided by age as of August 31. Some offer family assistance for partial tuition, or military discounts. Relatives or friends often provide transportation for children of parents who are employed. There are ways to work it out. Most classes meet 2 to 2 1/2 hours, 2 to 4 days a week, depending on the child’s age.
It is never too late in the school year to enroll your child. Some children enroll in winter or spring. When thinking about next fall, registration often begins in late winter of this year. Some classes fill quickly. Call to set up a visit to the program that interests you. It is best to visit without your child. Set a later time to talk with the teacher, and ask questions. Look for the interaction between teachers and children, and an inviting learning environment.
You will know the right program when you find it.