New early childhood center readies for students

Posted 7/10/09

Even though boxes filled much of the floor space in most of the classrooms at the program’s new home, enough space was cleared July 9 so parents …

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New early childhood center readies for students


Even though boxes filled much of the floor space in most of the classrooms at the program’s new home, enough space was cleared July 9 so parents could begin registering their children for the Englewood Early Childhood Education Program.

Kalissa Ford’s eyes sparkled as her mom, Amy Williamson, completed the forms to register the 4-year-old for the program.

“We are new to the program that I learned about from my neighbor,” Williamson said. “I am impressed with this facility and, as you can see, Kalissa is excited about coming here to school.”

Williamson said putting her daughter in the program is a big deal because, in this day and age, it is important a child get that year of learning and education before starting kindergarten.

Last year, the Early Childhood Education program was based at the Lowell Annex adjacent to Englewood High School but also had classes at Clayton Elementary School.

However, the school district decided to combine the five elementary schools into four and make the Maddox building the new home for ECE.

Peg LaPlante, assistant superintendent, said most of the work was done by school district employees as they replaced some tile, carpet, installed some security doors and put in some kiddy-size sinks. The transformation also included removal of some of the old Maddox playground equipment and moving the ECE playground equipment to the new site.

She added that Cowboy Moving and Storage cooperated with the district to help move all the boxes of classroom supplies from the Lowell Building to Maddox.

The renovation cost about $25,000, which was less than expected because of the “in-house sweat equity” the staff and employees put in moving and preparing the building, LaPlante said

Over the summer, crews made the necessary changes to the former Maddox Elementary School and all the class materials were packed in boxes so the program could move to its new home.

“This move is a huge improvement for our program,” Beth Engel, ECE coordinator, said. “For one thing, all our staff and classes are in one place and that is a huge benefit for planning and coordinating the curriculum.”

She added that the new site has more space, including a place for the office staff, a full kitchen for cooking and serving hot meals and even a space that can be used for meetings and where ECE can offer parent-oriented programs.

“Our staff always works to create a warm environment for our children,” she said. “But now that we are in a single location and have the space, I feel we can create the atmosphere to hopefully have our families feel comfortable and home in our ECE community.”

Jayne Gladwell, speech and language specialist, echoed Engel’s excitement about the new location.

“I believe this move is the biggest advance I’ve seen our program make in the 17 years I have been here,” Gladwell said. “It is so exciting to be in a single location with the room we need to provide programs for the children and for the parents that we couldn’t provide at the old locations.”

She said she feels it’s important the center now is in a residential neighborhood that enhances that feeling of community.

Gladwell also noted the new location includes a big playground with good equipment plus space where children can run, play and even just go for a nice walk around the school grounds.

Another plus is the building has a gymnasium where, the children can play if the weather keeps them from going outside. At the old locations, the children had to be kept in their classrooms.

Englewood’s Early Childhood Education Program offers the options of a full-day program, a half-day of classes either in the morning or the afternoon as well as a year-around program.

Engel noted the school’s screening program begins Aug. 12. Starting on that date, parents make appointments for the screening. The screening includes vision and hearing tests, evaluation of the child’s abilities and parent interviews to determine what the parents are looking for in a preschool program.

Much of the program is funded by state and federal preschool grants but there is a tuition schedule for those who don’t qualify for the grant programs such as Head Start, Title One of the Colorado Preschool Program.

The ECE is located at 700 W. Mansfield Ave. Staff is on hand most days to accept registrations. For information call 303-781-7585.


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