The opening this month of an "inclusive" preschool at Early Boyles Elementary is the culmination of the vision, strategy and hard work of community partners who believe in the effectiveness of linking quality early childhood education with the elementary years.
Along with Mt. Hood Community College Head Start, MESD's EI/ECSE program is a major partner in the Children's Institute's "Early Works Initiative." According to Pat Moffitt, MESD's EI/ECSE coordinator, the preschool has reserved 10 spots in its 34-student capacity for children with disabilities. This approach is in sync with the EI/ECSE philosophy of serving children in natural settings.
Pat said the commitment of David Douglas School District to provide space and employ the classroom teacher was one of the linchpins to project's successful implementation. "The engagement of the school district has been huge," commented Pat. "Collaboration with dedicated partners who are involved, willing and excited ensures this will be a positive and successful venture."
EI/ECSE staff working in the classroom include teacher Molly Hullet, speech pathologist Colleen Kendall, occupational therapist Eva Ma and physical therapist Lindsay Lily. The team is supervised by Jeanett Sealy.
Swati Adarkar, CEO and President of the Children's Institute, has written this about the project:
"The beginning of this school year marks a special milestone for the Children's Institute and our Early Works initiative. Right now at Earl Boyles Elementary, 34 three- and four-year-old students are attending preschool. As part of the initiative, this classroom is publicly funded like the other elementary grades and aligned and integrated with the rest of the school's curriculum. Reaching this benchmark is the result of the hard work of many people and organizations and simply could not have been done without the creative thinking, flexibility, and generosity of all the community partners who contributed."
Pat said the benefits of the project include:
--A high quality preschool experience for 3-5 year olds.