Play-based preschool finding space

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Wednesday, February 24, 2016 10:37pm
  • News

Parents forming the play-based, cooperative preschool in Nikiski are now looking for a designated space.

A local church is their target location, and plans are beginning to fall in place.

“With luck we will have a good response and be able to fill our class quickly,” said Katy Bethune, who taught in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District as a Title 1 and early intervention specialist teacher for 17 years and is the head organizer for the group.

Once a site is secured, the enrollment campaign will begin, Bethune said. The parents will create brochures and enrollment forms to put out for members of the public who want to sign up, hopefully by early March, she said.

“In discussions with the local school principal, she felt there is a great need, and more children needing preschool than the public school can provide,” Bethune said. “We just need to be able to offer enrollment to recruit people — without a firm location yet, we are in a holding pattern.”

A few parents and their children, ages three to five years old, have been meeting every Monday from 9:30-10:10 a.m. at the North Star United Methodist Church since early December.

The playtime has been somewhat of a trial run and place to hash out plans for when classes begin in a facility that can be fleshed out as an instructional space.

Bethune settled this fall on opening a play-based school because she believes teaching children to develop and use critical thinking skills for learning will ensure they enjoy their academics in the long run.

Play-based preschools are focused on teaching instruction and social skills through activities, versus academic preschools that teach through memorization.

Behtune also chose to go with a cooperative model, where parents can be directly involved in what and how their child learns.

Cooperative is also more cost-effective, Bethune said in a previous Clarion interview. It also gives parents a chance to learn from each other and children can get comfortable playing outside the home, while still within the comfort of their parent’s presence, she said.

There is no date set for a public meeting, but families can attend the Monday meetings to get involved, Bethune said.

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