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 exists for infants ages 0-18 months.
- The largest pre-school programs (Little Star Montessori and Head Start) both have wait-lists, and there is a perception that Little Star may be difficult for some families to afford, even with its strong scholarship program.
- Options are limited and unpredictable for evening, weekend and summer childcare.
- There is 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 are now underway 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.
- The Early Childhood Education Steering Committee formed to focus on creating more affordable, accessible high-quality childcare options for kids ages 0-5.
- Little Star School is actively working towards expanding its programs and starting an infant-care program
- Head Start is working more closely with Methow Valley Elementary kindergarten teachers.
- Methow Valley Elementary is exploring ways to potentially offer an afternoon component to the current Head Start (morning-only) program.
- Cub Club has expanded dramatically to provide more after-school childcare options for kids in grades K-6.