There is still time and space available to give little ones a head start in their academic careers by registering them for Neah-Kah-Nie School District’s (NKNSD) preschool classes in Rockaway Beach, according to local educators.
By Ann Powers
A morning and an after session will be offered for the 2016-17 school year. Preschool teacher, Angie Douma, said tuition runs about $1,000 – but a sliding scale, payment plans and scholarships are available to ensure no child is left behind.
“We have a policy that we don’t turn anyone away for lack of ability to pay,” she said.
Thanks to the District’s dedication to students, and a $72,000 Early Learning Partnership Innovation Grant, the preschool is equipped with quality curriculum, assessments, advanced technology, a sensory gym and more.
“We want to acknowledge that preschool is not just a water-downed kindergarten,” Douma said. “It is its own special development phase in life.”
According to the Early Childhood Education Zone, some of immediate benefits of preschool include:
• Fulfilling curiosity, which positively impacts academic performance later in life.
• Advantageous for brain structure.
• Offering physical activity that might not happen at home.
• Head start in social development.
• Learning discipline and structure – balanced with fun.
• Enhances foundational reading and math skills
• Better self-esteem and kids are less likely to be sad or unhappy.
Some of the later-life advantages are:
• Less likely to commit a felony.
• Less likely to drop out of high school
• Less likely to need government assistance.
• More likely to go to college – hence more likely to earn more in a lifetime.
• More likely to own a house.
Officials said another big bonus for having a local preschool is that it grows its own teachers. Several Nieh-Kah-Nie High School (NKNHS) students considering a career in early childhood education (ECE) started by becoming teaching assistants for the District’s program.
NKNHS graduate Kristina Burdick is one of them. She plans on returning to the area to teach after completing her ECE degree next year at Western Oregon University (WOU).
“That’s my ultimate goal,” said the WOU junior. “I think it’s very important to give back to a small community.”
Douma added that local-students-turned-local-teachers provide the District with a unique perspective because they already know and understand the community.
NKNSD Superintendent Paul Erlebach said both the community and students, whether in preschool or high school, shine because of the program’s exceptional and staff.
“Angie and instructional assistant Jaki Darby are the ‘Dream Team’ of any preschool,” he explained. “They exemplify compassion and great teaching. I have not met a parent who was not entirely satisfied with the preschool experience provided by Angie and Jaki.”
The District’s preschool sessions can accommodate about 20 students each. School starts Sept. 6. However, the first week of preschool will be parent orientation and the kids enter the classroom Sept. 12, Douma noted.
The preschool is located at the District Office at 504 N. Third Ave. in Rockaway Beach. The morning session runs from 8:15 to 11:15 a.m. The afternoon class meets 11:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
Transportation will be provided to and from preschool to students living in the Nehalem Attendance Zone in the morning group, and to students living in the Garibaldi Attendance Zone in the afternoon, according to Erlebach.
To register, contact Douma at 503-355-3508.