Early childhood educators head back to school
09.06.2012 | Lake County Record-Bee | Shelly Mascari
LAKE COUNTY — While nearly 10,000 children in grades kindergarten through 12 head back to school in Lake County this month, hundreds of early childhood educators are gearing up to prepare Lake County’s younger students for future school success.
There are many different options for early childhood education. The following are preschool options available in Lake County:
* Head Start has four sites in Lake County: Lakeport, Upper Lake and two in Clearlake. Head Start serves children ages 3 to 5 in a full-day preschool setting. The program is free for income-qualifying families. To find out about openings and the application process, call 462-3403, ext. 121.
* Although not a preschool program, Early Head Start has one Lake County site in Lakeport. The program provides care for children 6 weeks to 3 years of age in a full-day, year-round child development center. The federally funded program is free for those who qualify.
Early Head Start also offers a home-base option from infancy through 3 years old and expectant mothers. Weekly home visits are provided to assist parents with educational information, activities, community resources and services. For more information on either program or to obtain an application, call 262-1379.
* Lake County Office of Education offers part-day preschool programs, called Early Connection Preschools on or near several elementary schools throughout Lake County: Middletown, Lakeport, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Clearlake and Lucerne.
Early Connection Preschools serve children ages 4 to 5 in a part-day preschool setting. The program is free or reduced for income-qualifying families. To find out more about the program, openings and the application process, call 263-4563, or visit www.lakecoe.org. Select “For Students and Parents” and then select “Child Development Programs.”
* The Learning House offers a full day state preschool program in a rural setting in Clearlake. The program is free or reduced for income-qualifying families. The Learning House also has programs for infants and toddlers, as well as after school. To find out more about the program, openings and the application process, call 995-2076.
* Yuba Child Development center offers a part-day state preschool program at the Clear Lake Campus. The program is offered from 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday and is open to student families and non-student families alike. The program is free or reduced for income-qualifying families. To find out more about the program, openings and the application process, call 995-7909.
* There are a number of private preschool programs available throughout Lake County as well. Private centers often cater to the needs of their unique communities and can offer special programs for families and their children. Programs vary depending on the center. To find out about private centers in the area, contact North Coast Opportunities, Resource and Referral at 263-4688, ext. 13.
* Lake County is home to a variety of family child care programs. Rates and services vary per location. For a list of family child care homes, contact North Coast Opportunities, Resource and Referral at 707-263-4688, ext. 13.
* Transitional kindergarten is a new program that offers children with birthdays between September and December a developmentally appropriate curriculum aligned with kindergarten standards, taught by credentialed teachers at elementary schools. Transitional kindergarten was created by a new California law called the Kindergarten Readiness Act.
Districts have three years to fully implement the program and current programs vary throughout the county. For more information on transitional kindergarten and the specific program in your district, contact Shelly Mascari at Lake County Office of Education at 707-262-4162.
According to research reported by Science Magazine and Preschool California, children who attend high-quality preschool programs score better on reading and math achievement tests, are less likely to be placed in special education, are less likely to be held back a grade, and are more likely to graduate from high school.
For more information on child care in Lake County, including how to identify a quality child care program, visit the Lake County Child Care Planning Council at www.lakecountychildcareplanning.com.