Early Childhood Ed expansion starts at Federal Heights

Thursday, September 21, 2017 - 5:15pm

New preschool classrooms part of larger planned expansion

The Adams 12 Five Star Schools expansion of early childhood education opportunities got under way in Fall 2017 at Federal Heights Elementary.

Over the summer two existing Federal Heights Elementary kindergarten classrooms were repurposed into preschool classrooms as the kindergarten rooms moved to another location in the building.  Five Star Schools Early Childhood Education Director Nan Vendenga said the classrooms were a good fit for preschool because they already had required restrooms. Much of the summer work focused on additional upgrades and changes needed to make the rooms, as well as the preschool/kindergarten playground, compliant with various state requirements.

With that work completed, the Federal Heights ECE program opened in August 2017 offering 64 free morning and afternoon preschool slots to at-risk and special education students.

Federal Heights wasn’t originally anticipated to add early childhood education as part of the bond program until 2018. Those plans were accelerated this past spring because of a couple factors, including the closure of an independently-operated early childhood education center that served the area and changes to the Adams County Head Start Early Childhood Education program.

Vendenga said it created a need for additional preschool seats in the area that, thanks to the passage of the bond, the district was able to meet.

The plan to add space for expanded early childhood education opportunities is designed to meet a demand for more preschool opportunities at all levels: special education, at-risk and tuition based. The district has traditionally offered free preschool slots to special education students and a limited number of children who qualify through the Colorado Preschool Program. The passage of the bond will provide the necessary space to begin offering tuition-based preschool slots at several district schools beginning in Fall 2018.