By Crystal Hayduk
Chelsea’s youngest students are learning in-person at the district’s community preschool.
With pandemic mitigation strategies in place, the district has successfully maintained programming to support children as they learn a variety of skills aimed at promoting a successful school experience in the future.
Teacher Melissa Struk shared the details of the preschool’s guidelines.
Families complete the district’s health screener each day before children attend. Students wear face masks inside the building except when they are eating; they may choose to remove them for outdoor recess.
Preschool staff members wear face masks at all times, even outdoors.
The preschool has implemented additional hand washing procedures for staff and students and reduced class size to ensure maximum distancing.
During small group activities, students have assigned seating and use individual materials.
The staff adheres to detailed cleaning protocols at the close of each day.
Parent Kelly Dyer said her daughter, Frankie, has loved being in the multi-age class this year. “I think preschool is such a fundamental part of preparing kids for K-12 education,” she said, adding, “Jen Peterson is a fabulous teacher. She’s worked really hard to keep the students engaged and learning and having fun even during this abnormal year.”
Dyer believes the preschool experience was beneficial to her older daughter’s transition to kindergarten and elementary school. “Vivian learned how to engage in a classroom, interact with other students, get used to a more structured learning schedule—all of which were great preparation for kindergarten. The preschool classes are smaller, too, which I think helped.”
Chelsea Community Preschool (CCP) is offering a special “COVID-19-style” open house to new families on Thursday, March 4 from 6-7:30 p.m.
Families are asked to sign up online for a tour time slot by clicking the “In Person Sign Up” link on their website at https://www.chelsea.k12.mi.us/chelseapreschool. Note that due to COVID-19 protocols, the open house is only for adults this year, masks are required, and the health screener must be completed prior to entry.
For returning families or those who prefer a virtual format, links to pre-recorded tours are also on the website, along with links to an open house and a Q and A event on March 9 from 6 to 7 p.m.
Registration for the 2021-22 school year is now open for children who turn three or four years old by Sept. 1.
Lisa Nickel, director of special education, said scholarships may be offered to families who need tuition assistance, thanks to funding from Chelsea United Way and the Kiwanis Club.
By the time school begins next fall, a number of renovations should be completed. Nickel said bond funds are covering the cost of a new entryway with a secure entrance to the main office area, new cabinetry and carpet in the rooms, and some painting.
Struk said childcare before and after preschool, with time for lunch and rest, is another possible addition to the fall lineup.
To determine if there is an interest in this option, families can complete a simple survey, which can be found on their website or at https://forms.gle/JvHnPV4WBzxLzCs89.
Chelsea Community Preschool (CCP) Quick Facts
CCP offers a high-quality preschool experience that supports children’s growth and development to prepare them for kindergarten or Young 5’s.
CCP receives the highest scores in Great Start to Quality, a quality rating and improvement system.
Lead teachers are certified. Support staff onsite include occupational, physical, and speech and language therapists, a social worker and a school psychologist to provide early intervention if needed.
The preschool is located in the Chelsea Early Childhood Center, 500 Washington St.
More information and registration for in-person (March 4) and virtual (March 9) open houses are available at https://www.chelsea.k12.mi.us/chelseapreschool.
Additional news and images can be found on the preschool’s social media presence at https://www.facebook.com/ChelseaCommunityPreschool/ and on Twitter – @C_Preschool.