What Parents Want to Know about the NEW Vigo County Deming Early Learning Center

Have you heard the news? Vigo County School Corporation is preparing to open a new Early Learning Center at Deming Elementary! 

In 2021 and 2022, Deming Early Learning Center will have kindergarten, a transitional kindergarten class (read on for details!), pre-k, and daycare for infants and older. 

Vigo County School Corporation Deming Early Learning Center

Haute Happenings asked Early Childhood Administrator, Ashley Bennett, to share answers to our frequently asked questions about this new program and the learning center.

Who could or should attend these new programs? 

The Early Learning Center at Deming will have options for infants, pre-k students, and kindergarten. It’s open to students throughout the district.

What are the hours? 

Full Day Pre-K and Kindergarten will be 8 a.m.-2:45 p.m. during school year. There will also be after school care (for an additional fee) for those who need childcare for the remainder of the standard work day. The pre-k and kindergarten programs follow the VCSC student calendar. 

Daycare for infants and toddlers will be 7:15-4:45. Please enroll for this program by emailing Ashley Bennett (ashley.bennett@vigoschools.org), because space is limited and offered to school employees first. The daycare follows the teacher schedule, which means daycare is open the day before school begins and the day after school ends. Daycare will not have a delayed start on 2-hour delay days. 

Is half-day pre-k still an option?

Hoosier Prairie, Consolidated, Terre Town, Sugar Grove, Fuqua, Farrington Grove, Davis Park will all have (free) part-time programs.

Will transportation be provided? 

Unfortunately, transportation is always a big issue for Pre-K. Four-year-old students must ride in a bus with harnesses, and that’s not currently an option.

If the corporation sees a need for a whole class at a school that’s not within walking distance of Deming, they would consider placing a half day Pre-k at an additional school. However, in order to adequately staff enough full-day programs, (which was the largest request of surveyed families), one site is the best solution logistically.

Kindergarten students (in both the traditional and transitional programs) who live near Deming will have bussing options. 

I have students at multiple schools, and I don’t think I can make it to Deming on time. What should I do? 

This new program will allow for a fair amount of flexibility. The administrators would suggest dropping off young children at Deming in the morning after their older siblings are at school on time. In the afternoons, you could pick up the youngest children first (ideally not before 2:30) before heading to other schools for on-time pick up. This process will be worked out and systematized as the program develops. 

How much does it cost? 

Payment plans/scholarships available for Pre-K! Free scholarships are available to students living in Title I districts.

On My Way Pre-K and CCDF vouchers are accepted.

Paid students will pay $21 per day. 

The after-school program will require an additional fee. 

The half-day programs and kindergarten programs will still be FREE aside from the usual supply fee. 

What is transitional kindergarten? 

This program is described as an “introduction to kindergarten standards in a play-based approach.” Expect transitional kindergarten to be kindergarten taught in a pre-k format. Children will enjoy lots of exploration, social and emotional learning, and hands-on play.

Most children who attend transitional kindergarten will attend a traditional kindergarten program the following year. However, some parents may decide their children are ready for first grade the following year. 

Transitional kindergarten may be a great option for families who would like their children to have another year of experience before kindergarten due to Covid or younger children whose birthdays are near the kindergarten cutoff date. 

What are the masking expectations and requirements? 

During the 2021 school year, students ages 3 and up are masked aside from eating and a nap time. Two-year-olds wear masks as they are able including group situations outside of their room (like walking into and out of the building).

COVID-19 protocol will be updated for the 2021-22 school year over the summer, in collaboration with local public health leaders.

You mentioned naps. Do all kids nap? 

Naptime will be offered for daycare and pre-k. If a pre-k student has outgrown naptime, they will be offered quiet time activities. Cots are spaced to allow for adequate social distancing during rest time. 

What excites you about this new center? 

This program will have the same commitment to excellence as the other pre-k programs in the corporation, which have all earned a 3 on the Paths to Quality scale. There will be four playgrounds, appropriately-sized educational equipment, snacks, and licensed childcare providers for infants. These programs will focus on hands-on, developmentally-appropriate, play-based learning practices. The goal will be to help your child love school! 

What’s the teacher to student ratio? 

For babies, expect one teacher for every four babies. For toddlers and two-year-olds, one teacher for every five children. 3-year-olds have a ratio of 1 to 10. Pre-k is 1 to 12. Kindergarten classes will be small but the exact size is to be determined. An expectation of a cap of 20 students would be fair and reasonable. 

How do we enroll? 

You can register new students at web.vigoschools.org/new or email ashley.bennett@vigoschools.org for more information! 

Personal Feedback:

Our older girls participated in (and adored) the previous Vigo County School Corporation pre-k program. Although there will be differences between the old program and the new Deming Early Learning Center, the pre-k program we joined will be remembered as a highlight of our daughters’ school careers.

Throughout the pre-k room there were themed stations with signs that say things like, “I may look like I’m playing, but while I play I’m learning ____.” There was a large dramatic play center, a sand table, stencils, a classroom library, a literacy corner, and a large table to make art and do messy projects and experiments. The kids went outside almost every day and spent a large portion of the morning doing “free choice” at the centers. All of this was led by a teacher who is committed to developmentally- appropriate practices. 

Additionally, two of our girls have birthdays near the kindergarten cut-off date of August 1st. They may have been good candidates for the transitional kindergarten classroom! 

Will you consider or enroll your children in this new program? 

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