Durango School District 9-R

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Early Childhood

Welcome! We are committed to providing the highest quality early childhood education with the goal of ensuring that each student has the developmental and learning foundations necessary for long term success. Each of our elementary schools includes at least one preschool classroom and one kindergarten classroom.

In both preschool and kindergarten, we support child readiness in numerous ways, including:
  • Program staff who build nurturing, supportive relationships with children and their families
  • Well-planned classroom environments and routines that encourage active engagement and independence
  • Activities that support learning and development in all domains
  • Learning opportunities that encourage exploration, experimentation, critical thinking and problem solving
  • Ongoing assessment of child progress
  • Individualized instructional planning

Our kindergarten programs are full day classes and follow the school district calendar. Children are eligible for kindergarten if they are 5 years old on or before September 1st. All kindergarten classes are free. If you want your kindergarten child to attend a school outside your attendance area, please follow the Open Enrollment process.

Our preschool programs offer a variety of options from half days to full days, Tuesdays through Fridays. We welcome all children, but we do give priority to children who are four years old by September 1st and who live within the school attendance area. Tuition for a full day program is $420 per month, and a half day program is $210 per month. Tuition assistance is available through the Colorado Preschool Program.

New kindergarten students  will register for the 2018/19 school year through the new Online Registration.  After registering online, kindergarten students will still have to finish the process at the school.
Preschool and kindergarten registration for the 2018-19 school year is scheduled for the following schools:
April 9th:            Animas Valley Elementary
April 10th:          Florida Mesa Elementary
April 12th:          Riverview Elementary
April 16th:          Sunnyside Elementary
April 18th:          Park Elementary
April 23rd:          Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary
April 25th:          Needham Elementary
During registration, potential preschool parents will be able to complete Preschool Interest Forms and get their questions answered about the preschool program. We will also provide developmental screenings for those children whose parents would like to apply for tuition assistance through the Colorado Preschool Program. Kindergarten parents will complete paperwork that is additional to the online registration. Please bring your child's birth certificate and immunization information to registration. No appointment is necessary for these days, and all registrations will be from 8:00-3:00 at the school.  
We are now taking names of potential preschool children. The Preschool Interest Form for the 2018-19 school year is listed under Important Documents below. You may complete the form and email it to Libby Culver at lculver@durangoschools.org.  Parents of 4-year-old children will be notified by the end of April if their child got a slot in a district preschool classroom. 3-year-old children will be placed on a waiting list and if there is space available will be called in order of their birthdays.
In addition, you will see a survey of preschool families who may be interested in a Monday child care option at Needham Elementary School from 8:00-3:00 that could be available to any district preschooler. Please complete and return that if this is an interest of yours.

Important Documents
You may complete any of the forms listed above in a writable format, which means you can fill them out electronically. If you choose to complete them electronically you may save them as a pdf to your desktop, then submit them as an attachment via email to Libby Culver. Otherwise you have the option to print out the forms, complete them, and mail/hand deliver them to Libby.

Frequently Asked Questions
What curriculum is used in 9-R preschools?
We use the Creative Curriculum for Preschool which uses exploration and discovery as a way of learning and enables children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical thinking skills. We address all the Colorado Academic Standards through this curriculum in a nurturing, predictable and fun environment.

Is there child care available for after school hours and on Mondays?
There are no services available for our preschool students on Mondays. Unfortunately, due to child care rules and regulations, preschool students are not able to participate in the district's Kids' Camp program at the school. For the 2018-19 school year, the district is considering a partnership with a private child care provider for Monday care from 8:00-3:00 at Needham Elementary School. The survey of parent interest in this option is available during registration and in the Important Documents found above.

How can I get my child into a 9-R preschool classroom?
We have a limited number of slots available, and we give priority to children who are 4 years old by September 1st and who live within the school attendance area. When space is available we will also serve 3 year olds. The first step to enrollment is to complete a Preschool Interest Form and send it to Libby Culver. She will get in touch with you to let you know if there is space available or if your child is on a waiting list.

What is the ratio of teachers to preschool students?
1-8. We have a limit of 16 children with a licensed teacher and full time instructional aide in each class.

Why do you charge tuition in a public school preschool?
The state of Colorado does not provide funding for preschool education except for assistance for those students who qualify for the Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) or for those students who have been identified as having special needs. CPP is for students who may be at risk for being unsuccessful in kindergarten.

What is the tuition for 9-R early childhood programs?
There is no tuition for kindergarten, and tuition for a full school day preschool program Tuesday-Friday will be $420 per month and $210 per month for half day preschool classes Tuesday-Friday.
How do I apply for tuition assistance?
Parents will complete the CPP Eligibility Checklist and turn it in to their child's teacher or Libby Culver. As part of the determination process, a staff member will complete a short developmental screening. CPP funding support is available to families in all district preschools, Head Start classrooms, Durango Early Learning Center, and the Fort Lewis College Campbell Center. 
What if my child has a September birthday and misses the cutoff for kindergarten?
We recognize that September 1st is an arbitrary date and that children may have the developmental and academic maturity to be successful in kindergarten. This decision is made after observation of your child in their preschool setting and talking with parents and teachers. Contact Libby Culver for more information.
What if my child turns 5 years old after October 1st?
We now have permission from the state to accelerate highly advanced gifted children if their birthday falls after October 1st if they are evaluated to be exceptional in aptitude/cognitive reasoning, academics, school readiness and motivation. For further information, see the Early Access tab under this Early Childhood section.
Contact Information

To get more information about our preschool availability and program information, you may contact:

Libby Culver
Supervisor of Early Childhood Programs
Phone: 970-247-5411 ext. 1468
Email: lculver@durangoschools.org