Welcome to Early Childhood Education!

Posted by Director of Early Childhood Education, Alicia Jepsen on 12/15/2015 12:00:00 PM

Director of Early Childhood Alicia Jepsen

Greetings from Early Childhood Education in St. Cloud Area School School District 742! Early Childhood Education provides comprehensive services and supports to families across our school district. I want to take this opportunity to share information about each of the unique programs in early childhood and all the opportunities and supports we provide to families and caregivers of our youngest learners in our district.

Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) is an opportunity for parents/caregivers to come together with their children ages birth to kindergarten entrance to engage in developmentally appropriate learning activities with their child, as well as engage in conversations with other parents, facilitated by a licensed parent educator, to discuss the joys and challenges of parenting in this 21st century world. Families enjoy time together to play, learn and grow, build their confidence as a parent, support their child’s early development and learn about resources and supports that are available in our community.

We are excited to roll out our new Early Childhood Education Winter catalog with a new design! Take a look at the opportunities that are available to you at our early childhood center, Colts Academy in St. Joseph, or at one of our early childhood classrooms at Discovery and Talahi Community Schools. Families do need to register for classes in ECFE. There are many different options for different age groups, times and locations. Take a look and see if you can find a class that is a good fit for you and your family!  

Early Childhood Screening is a free check of how your preschool age child is growing, developing and learning. Minnesota law requires that all children receive this health and developmental screening prior to entering kindergarten in the public schools. We recommend that families sign up for this free screening right after your child’s 3rd birthday. The screening includes a developmental assessment, vision and hearing screening, height and weight checks and a review of immunizations and health history. The purpose of screening is for you to know that your child is on track for learning and to identify children who may need additional time and experiences in a preschool setting in order to be ready for kindergarten. Children who are identified as needing additional supports will be referred, with parent permission, to the Early Childhood Special Education evaluation team for further testing, resources and supports. Be sure to call us at Colts Academy to sign up for screening or go online to sign up for a time. Screening occurs most Tuesdays and one Saturday each month. We look forward to meeting you and your child!

St. Cloud Area School District 742 Preschool Programs are offered to 3 and 4 year old children at six different locations in our district, including Colts Academy, Clearview, Discovery, Kennedy, Oak Hill, and Talahi Community Schools. Children who are 3 or 4 on September 1st are eligible to enroll in a preschool classroom. Our preschool program is a Parent Aware 4 star rated program taught by licensed early childhood teachers. Preschool is a tuition-based program with transportation within school boundaries provided for an additional fee.   Families who are eligible can access a limited number of reduced tuition slots for preschool or an early learning scholarship, which supports the cost of tuition and transportation. Families can inquire in our office at Colts for further information about financial assistance.

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) provides special education services and supports to children birth to kindergarten entrance who have been identified as having a developmental delay, speech or language disorder or other identified disability. Parents and caregivers who have a concern about a child’s development can make a referral to the Help Me Grow system (www.helpmegrowmn.org) or call our office regarding concerns or questions. Infants, toddlers and two year olds who have been identified through an evaluation typically will receive services from an ECSE teacher and other specialists (ie: speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist) in their home or child care center. Children who are preschool age receive special education services in a special education or preschool classroom at one of our 6 locations across the district. Children can also receive supports in a community childcare center or Head Start center depending on the specialized needs of the child. Be sure to call our office at 320-253-5828 if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development.

On behalf of all the staff in early childhood education we look forward to being able to serve your family!

Early Childhood Class