Staff members at The Center Early Childhood Programs are gearing up for their move to the new Lake County Elementary School, which is slated to be finished this summer before the fall semester begins. The preschool’s new name will be The Center at Lake County Elementary.
“We’re excited about the move,” said Lisa Roeder, family and community partnerships manager at The Center. “We’ve always been a part of the school district, but this makes us really feel like we are part of the school district.”
Roeder said that The Center is currently working to finalize enrollment to determine what sort of staffing recruitment they need to undertake.
The Center is hoping to enroll 128 students next year, according to Roeder, although that will likely not happen by the start of the school year. Fifty-five students who were enrolled at The Center last year will be moving on to kindergarten.
Recruitment for students has already begun, Roeder said, much of which is through word of mouth. In the past, Roeder has delivered applications to manufactured home communities and has organized town hall meetings with families. Roeder added that once the weather permits, she will hang flyers around town.
Forty of The Center’s 128 spots will be reserved for Colorado Head Start students, a state chapter of a federal program that promotes school readiness for entry-level students from low-income families. An undetermined number of spots will be reserved for students who qualify for the Colorado Preschool Program, a state-funded early childhood education program for at-risk youth.
From there, The Center will open up registration to students who will pay tuition or who are on the waitlist. Once enrollment is finalized, Roeder said The Center will determine whether it needs more teachers.
The Center and kindergarten classrooms will be located in a separate wing from the rest of the elementary school. Last year, plans for the new school were updated to include two additional classrooms, which The Center will use if enrollment requires it.
Roeder said the classrooms at the new elementary school are a significant upgrade from those at The Center’s current location. She added that The Center had an opportunity to help design the new school while it was being built.
Each classroom will have a bathroom so students don’t have walk down the hallway, as well as storage cubbies and other amenities that Roeder said The Center has not had in the past. Because the classrooms are bigger, Roeder said students will be able to participate in motor activities, like music and dancing.
Roeder added that because students will be in the same building as the rest of the elementary school, it will make transitioning into kindergarten much easier.
“Students will know the school,” said Roeder. “And that will alleviate a lot of stress for them and their families as they continue their education.”