Touchet Preschool/TK Pilot

New Touchet Preschool/TK Pilot
Posted on 05/12/2022
This is the image for the news article titled New Touchet Preschool/TK PilotAn exciting new pilot program with Touchet School District and ESD 123’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) will start with the upcoming school year. The new pilot program combines the ECEAP preschool program with a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program. Touchet’s ECEAP Preschool currently serves eligible 3 and 4-year-old children. Transitional Kindergarten is an early learning program for 4-year-olds who will not turn 5 in time for kindergarten (by August 31st), and who could benefit from additional early learning experiences prior to kindergarten.

The ECEAP/TK collaboration is due to a grant through OSPI that was written by Touchet School District and supported by ESD 123’s ECEAP. Funding for the ECEAP/TK program in Touchet is a blend from OSPI and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). Lisa Brouwer, ESD 123 ECEAP Administrator, says that this is a new model for the state.

“ESD 123 and Touchet we will be the first to offer a combined ECEAP preschool and Transitional Kindergarten in Eastern Washington,” Brouwer says.

This new early learning offering will help to bring more support to eligible children and families in rural communities. A certificated teacher will co-teach with a lead ECEAP teacher in Touchet’s preschool/TK classroom. The classroom will implement all required ECEAP performance standards and the ECEAP teaching model, while being able to blend TK funding to allow more community preschoolers to enroll. The result is an inclusive environment intended to increase social and emotional skills and provide additional preparation to be successful in kindergarten the following year.

Already there have been inquiries from other school districts to observe and learn more about this pilot program. “That says a lot about the need for this type of early learning program,” says Matt Bona, ESD 123 Executive Director of Early Learning. Many small, rural communities often face a lack of access to early learning and preschool offerings. This makes the partnership between ESD 123 and the Touchet School District to offer a blended ECEAP/TK classroom a truly unique and exciting opportunity for the region.
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