At first glance, it might look like the 3-year-old children in a Canyons preschool classroom are simply playing as they shape colorful dough and chat with each other.
But with a closer look, as the children sit on the floor and interact with their teacher and fellow students, CSD’s youngest pupils are learning important foundational skills that will prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.
Canyons’ first-come, first-served, tuition-based preschool program, which begins accepting applications on Wednesday, Jan. 6, offers a hands-on learning approach that focuses on more than letters and numbers. It also teaches students how to communicate and build relationships, too.
Families with children who will be age 3 or 4 by Sept. 1, 2021, can apply to participate in the preschool program via this link. Next year, CSD plans to have 12 preschools at various schools throughout the District.
“You will see adults on the floor playing with them and supporting their learning,” said Terri Mitchell, Early Childhood Program Administrator. “So, our goal as adults, as we’re there playing with them, building a block structure, for example, we might be having conversations around what would one more look like? How can we make it taller? What would it look like if it fell over? Darn, it fell over, how can we make it more sturdy next time? So, we’re building vocabulary, we’re building language, we’re building cognitive support.”
While these basic interactions may seem simple, the impact is effective, Mitchell says, as students who complete the program meet state standards for literacy learning, numeracy learning and creativity in the arts.
“In Canyons District, we use an evidence-based curriculum that has been around since the 1960s,” Mitchell says. “It has more research behind it than any other preschool curriculum out there.”
Canyons’ tuition preschool program for three and 4-year-olds provides 2.5 hours of instruction two or four days a week for students who live within District boundaries. Each classroom is taught by a teacher who is certified in both general education and special education. Classes include students who have special needs to provide unique opportunities for each student to learn and build relationships with classmates who have different abilities. Those opportunities are fundamental to preparing young children to interact with the world as they grow older, Mitchell says.
“They develop a sense of empathy that we couldn’t teach otherwise,” Mitchell says. “They’re able to support and understand when there’s difficulty in the classroom with a student with a disability. I often see them holding hands with them. I often seem them saying, ‘It’s OK, it’s OK, we can make this work.’ They’re always there to help support and intervene.”
- Morning sessions are 8:20-10:50 a.m.
- Afternoon sessions are 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
- Students can enroll in a two- or four-days-a-week program
- Children in special-education may be able to attend free of cost
- Cost is $100 per month for students attending two days per week and $200 a month for students attending four days. There’s also a one-time $20 registration fee