The Methow Valley School District recognizes the unique importance of early childhood as it sets the stage for all future learning in school and beyond.
Early Childhood Education is one of the District’s Six Strategic Anchors, and the District is committed to developing a shared vision and plan for how every child in the Methow Valley can receive affordable, high-quality childcare and early learning opportunities between ages 0-5.
Did you know…
- 90% of a child’s brain develops before age 5
- In the first few years of life, 700 new neuronal connections form every second!
- Regular, loving interactions are crucial to optimal brain development before age 5
To learn more, please see: The Science of Early Childhood Development
In 2014, the Methow Valley School District, Little Star and Room One initiated the Early Childhood Childcare and Education Needs Assessment. The Needs Assessment identified several large unmet needs for childcare and early childhood education in the Methow Valley:
- NO organized childcare existed for infants ages 0-18 months.
- The largest pre-school programs (Little Star Montessori and Head Start) both had wait-lists, and there was a perception that Little Star may be difficult for some families to afford, even with its strong scholarship program.
- Options were limited and unpredictable for evening, weekend and summer childcare.
- There was a need for coordination and communication between childcare providers and between providers and families in need of childcare.
For more information on “What We Heard and Learned” during the Early Childhood and Childcare Needs Assessment view the report [pdf].
Several initiatives resulted to meet the needs identified in the Needs Assessment:
- Katharine Bill was hired in October 2015 through the Methow Valley School District to be the Early Childhood Education and Childcare Coordinator, and in 2019 her role grew to Family and Community Engagement Coordinator..
- The Early Childhood Education Steering Committee convened between 2015-2018 to focus on creating more affordable, accessible high-quality childcare options for kids ages 0-5.
- Little Star School added a new building, expanded its programs and started an infant-care program in both Winthrop and Twisp.
- Head Start expanded to a full-day, 5-day/week program.
- Head Start is working more closely with Methow Valley Elementary kindergarten teachers.
- Methow Valley Elementary developed a 5-day/week After School Childcare Program serving grades K-6.
- Cub Club expanded to provide more after-school enrichment options for kids in grades K-6.