By BRANDON VILLALOVOS
10:47 pm | April 18, 2017
Washington Children’s Center hosted a preschool fair at its Penn Street campus in Northwest Pasadena Tuesday afternoon to help parents kickstart their child’s classroom experience in a neighborhood that educators say has a high need for early childhood services.
The fair was a casual gathering to get parents – and their children – acquainted with the preschool curriculum as well as with school facilities and services before school opens in July.
“We’re hoping that we can get families to come out and enroll their children into our preschool programs to give them the head start they need before entering kindergarten,” said Pasadena Unified School District Early Childhood Programs Director Ree Hudson.
Aside from staff at Washington Children’s Center, Pasadena Unified teachers were on site to help manage the children’s activities in addition to handing out enrollment forms for the parents.
Teachers and staff gave tours of the facility and classrooms to give parents a one-on-one opportunity to talk to teachers and learn about curriculum and day to day operations in depth.
“It’s important to prepare the children for kindergarten — to get them ready. They have a lot to learn from the first zero to five years of their life and so we make sure that they’re presented with all of the opportunities, developmentally appropriate activities and things to get them ready,” said Hudson.
The event featured arts and crafts for the children, including painting and making necklaces, among other activities.
Pasadena Unified emphasizes “learning through play” strategies when teaching preschool.
“We get the children ready to learn in a group,” said Dina Perez, Site Supervisor at the Washington Children’s Center. “We let them create and use their imagination,” Perez added.
The preschool adheres to the Pasadena Unified Strategic Plan, the a 10-year plan created to help define the district, what it stands for and how it is envisioned to grow.
“We have a very high quality preschool program here for the children that includes a very interactive, engaging curriculum that we align with the preschool standards from the state of California Department of Education,” said Hudson.
All staff members have Bachelors degrees in either early childhood development or a related field.
“They’re very familiar with how children grow and develop and we’re here today with all of the staff to present that to the families again in the community. There’s a high need for early childhood preschool or childcare in this area,” said Hudson.
PUSD’s preschool program, including the fair and subsequent events at Willard Children’s Center and Longfellow Children’s Center, is supported by a statewide preschool program, although parents who are income-qualified will be required to pay monthly fees for the service.
“We do have income guidelines according to whatever the income of the parents, and depending on the family size and the income limit we also offer free services for them,” Perez said. “We have a scale, and some parents get charged as little as $46 a month, and for those above the income guidelines, it will be $800 a month for full-day service.”
As to the children’s ages to qualify for the PUSD preschool program, Perez said the state requires children who are turning three years old before September 1 should be enrolled in the program. The program does not require children to pass an entrance exam to get into preschool.
After Tuesday’s fair at Washington Children’s Center, the next preschool fairs will be at Willard Children’s Center, at 345 S. Halstead Street, on Thursday, April 20, and at Longfellow Children’s Center, located at 1377 N. Mar Vista Avenue, next Wednesday, April 26, from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
For more information, visit www.pusd.us.