Final week, a whole bunch of Seattle Preschool Program (SPP) contributors began kindergarten higher ready and with extra confidence across the huge transition to high school. That is as a result of preschool courses have been prolonged by means of the summer time for the second consecutive yr, with some packages having as many as 10 weeks of prolonged programming.
Summer season extension was first piloted in the summertime of 2021 in response to a faculty yr rife with studying interruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This system offers rising kindergarteners additional assist and extra alternatives for social and educational preparedness as they get able to enter the Ok-12 system. SPP suppliers, whose contracts with the Metropolis sometimes cowl September by means of June programming, have been provided a second summer time extension choice. Many of those packages skilled frequent employees and scholar absences throughout the 2021-2022 faculty yr, because the impression of COVID-19 on studying persevered, and 20 out of 26 supplier businesses opted to take part within the 2022 summer time extension. Over half of SPP’s 128 school rooms stayed open to serve their preschoolers by means of late July or August.
Grace Alams is the director of Artistic Children Studying Middle, a Seattle Preschool Program supplier with two SPP places in Northwest Seattle: Viewlands Elementary (presently working at John Marshall throughout building) and Carkeek Park; each provided prolonged summer time programming this yr. “Virtually all our households informed us how a lot summer time extension has helped their youngster who’s going into kindergarten,” stated Grace. “For a few of our college students who have been nonetheless struggling socially throughout the faculty yr, the additional months within the classroom helped them higher adapt and be kindergarten prepared. We have seen an enormous enhance this summer time in lots of college students’ social-emotional growth.”
All through the varsity yr, SPP suppliers obtain a number of helps from the Division of Schooling and Early Studying (DEEL), together with educational assist for curriculum, classroom setting setup, skilled growth alternatives, and household assets. Packages additionally work carefully with DEEL employees, together with an Early Studying coach who helps their work.
Miriam Zmiewski-Angelova is the DEEL coach who works with the Artistic Children crew and Director Alams. “Artistic Children Studying Middle is a mannequin program and a present to the Seattle group,” stated Zmiewski-Angelova. “Ms. Grace is a dynamic and seasoned director who grew this program from a household childcare dwelling right into a center-based program with a number of educators that also looks like a household. Their tender and playful interactions with their kids display their love for the kids they serve. I’ve really loved all my time working with their educators and assist employees.”
The response to summer time programming has been so optimistic—from each households and suppliers—that DEEL, with assist from the Households, Schooling, Preschool, and Promise (FEPP) Levy Oversight Committee, just lately proposed a legislative change to the FEPP Levy implementation plan to make summer time extension a everlasting element of SPP. Metropolis Council voted on September 9 to undertake the change, and SPP suppliers now have the choice every spring to increase their contract by means of summer time months, not less than by means of 2026 when the FEPP Levy expires. Summer season extension could make employees retention simpler for SPP suppliers and remove the necessity for a lot of preschool academics to seek out further work throughout summer time. Dad and mom additionally recognize not having to seek out different youngster care or summer time packages for his or her kids throughout the summer time months. Their kids get to stay in a household and supportive studying setting.
“Beforehand, throughout summer time months, our preschoolers needed to be joined with different age teams, which frequently proved difficult for each employees and the kids,” Alams shared. “Now, with SPP summer time programming, we get to have a centered class with simply our preschool-aged kids, and it has been wonderful. Along with time within the classroom doing science and artwork, we additionally get to go on outings, similar to to the zoo or on nature walks. Summer season offers alternatives for extra exploration and hands-on experiences.”
Whereas programming for the Seattle Preschool Program for the 2022-2023 faculty yr has already began and lots of school rooms are full, a number of packages across the metropolis nonetheless have openings. To seek out out about openings and apply, go to seattle.gov/applySPP or name (206) 386-1050.