Early Childhood Program and Facilities
- 07/20/06: First Steps staff on walkthrough:
- 07/12/06: Photos of site work (2) and work on the outdoor play area
- 06/02/06: Photos of painting at new Preschool Center
- 05/05/06: Photos of work at new Preschool Center - walkthrough group, siding installation and Hearth & Home area
- 04/26/06: Photo of entrance canopy at new Preschool Center
- 03/10/06: Photos of work at new Preschool Center
- 02/08/06: New sign at new Preschool Center
- 11/28/05: Photos of work at new Preschool Center
- Photos of work at new Preschool Center - Week of 10/03/05:
- Preschool Site Plan - 12/04
Key Elements of the Plan
- Expanded day tuition based Kindergarten that will provide a half day
enrichment program with the same teacher.
- Tuition based preschool will be expanded to seven elementary
schools: Allen, Dicken, Lakewood, Mitchell, Northside, Thurston, Wines
- Separate new preschool facility at centrally located site (Balas II &
Balas III) that will continue to include services for special needs
- New programs will be self sufficient with respect to staffing and
A comprehensive preschool/early childhood program and facilities use
plan were developed not only to meet the early learning needs of our
youngest learners, but also to reflect market and enrollment indicators.
Key requirements of the plan were that it remain cost neutral with
respect to staffing increases, that best practices and programming lead
the way, that projected growth and enrollment guide capacity, and that
program accessibility be a high priority.
- A center to accommodate daily programming for 400 - 450 students and at least six cluster programs at elementary school sites to accommodate a remodeled preschool and kindergarten options.
- Renovating an existing structure to establish a developmentally
appropriate preschool center with space flexibility to accommodate the
changing needs of families.
- Constructing dedicated centrum areas with bathrooms at six elementary
sites in order to expand preschool and kindergarten options.
- Maintaining an additional six individual extended day option (EDO)
sites separate from the centrum clusters as parent interest indicates.
- Coordinating renovations to include future needs for special education
- Meeting the need for 24 elementary classrooms. Nine currently exist.
- Using Balas II and III to create a preschool and early childhood
The Preschool Early Childhood Management Team visited programs in the
West Bloomfield and Birmingham Public Schools. All three districts
credit thoughtful preschool/early childhood programming with
contributing to their enrollment stability and increasing market share.
Each district offers tuition-based preschool and kindergarten options,
opportunities for disadvantaged families, and programs for children who
are developmentally delayed and/or eligible for special education
Two surveys of the community produced the following findings from 427
- Forty-seven percent of the respondents will have a child ages 3 ÷ 5
they would consider enrolling in a district-sponsored preschool program.
- Sixty of the respondents said they anticipate moving into the Ann
Arbor district in order to enroll in the public schools.
- Fifty-one percent of the respondents reported they are considering a
private preschool option, but would reconsider a public school
tuition-based preschool program if one existed.
Preschool / Early Childhood Center
A preschool/early childhood center will allow integration of Head Start,
Michigan School Readiness, Early Childhood Developmentally Delayed (ECDD),
Young 5Ôs, First Steps Washtenaw, and federally required Early-On and
Early Intervention services. It also would allow for tuition-based
preschool for children 2-1/2 to 5 years of age. Parents would have the
option of selecting tuition-based preschool that is consistent with the
school-year calendar or a preschool calendar that extends through the
Location of Center
Following studies of the feasibility of locating a preschool center on
three sites, the Preschool / Early Childhood Management Team recommends
renovation of Balas II /III to create
a single unit on a campus-like setting. The Balas II/III site offers a
number of advantages including central location, ample room, site
flexibility, and compatibility with natural surroundings.
Start-up costs must include funding for furniture and supplies for the
new center and early childhood classroom clusters. In addition, it is
recommended that the project include: an outdoor play area with
consideration given to accessibility issues; an increased preschool
allocation for professional development and school improvement
activities, and increased administrative overhead for processing higher
enrollment, collecting fees, publications and marketing.
Short- and Long-term Timeline
- In 2003-04, maintain two EDO programs at King and Eberwhite Schools.
- In 2004-05, anticipate adding at least three EDO programs using
currently available space.
- In 2004-05, anticipate implementing limited tuition-based preschool
- In 2005-06, Balas II and III staff will relocate to allow renovation
of the buildings.
- In 2005-06, construction will begin on a new preschool and early
childhood center, assuming a successful bond passage in June, 2004.
- In August 2006, the new center will open.