Early Childhood Education

The Early Childhood Program providesa safe and nurturing learning environment focused on the wholechild.

Our youngest students thrive throughengaging, high quality learning experiences. We partner with families as a child’s first teacher,and developrelationships with our community to deliver services early.

Ƶ Us

Andy DeFreece
Director of Elementary and Early Childhood Education
402.715.8336
adefreec@mpsomaha.org

Mendy Dickey
Secretary for Title I/Preschool
402.715.8339
mjdickey@mpsomaha.org

Dr. Amanda Hunt
Coordinator of Early Childhood
402.715.8307
alhunt@mpsomaha.org

Jean Savage
Secretary for Early Childhood and Elementary Special Education
402.715.8302
jasavage@mpsomaha.org

Cheris Kite
Facilitator for Early Childhood and K-5 Literacy Intervention
402.715.1431
cakite@mpsomaha.org

Developmental Screenings and Early Intervention, Birth to 3 Years Old

Do you have questions or concernsabout your child’s development? We offer free developmental screenings and or evaluations. Our early childhood development specialists may recommend an evaluation for your child's skills. The screening or evaluation will help determine if there is a delay in your child's skills and if early childhood special education may be appropriate. or contactJean Savage atjasavage@mpsomaha.org or402.715.8302.

Resources

Home Visiting, Birth to 3 Years Old

Some children may qualify for our home visiting program. This program iscommitted to improving the school readiness and life outcomes of infants and toddlers, especially those most vulnerable to risk factors affecting early brain development and skill formation. Home visitsfocus on young children who experience particular risk factorsknown to affect kindergarten readiness and academic achievement. For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify for home visiting, call 402.715.6392. Ƶ is grateful to theand thefor their financial support of these programs.

Early Childhood Evaluations, Ages 3 to 5 Years Old

Do you have questions or concernsabout your child’s development? We offer free developmental screenings and or evaluations. The screening or evaluation will help determine if there is a delay in your child's skills and if early childhood special education may be appropriate. or contactJean Savage atjasavage@mpsomaha.org or402.715.8302.

Traditional Preschool

Ƶ Preschools offer both half day and full day options for children younger thankindergarten age. Preschool age is defined by theNebraska Department of Education aschildrenwho have not reached the age of five on or before July 31st of the currentschool year.

Our preschools provide learning experiences that help young children get ready for kindergarten.The curriculum reflects the Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines and Ƶ's preschool standards and indicators. Italignswith our elementary programto provide a seamless transition to school.Ongoing formative assessment and collaborative planning support the diverse developmental, academic, cultural, and family needs of our students.The preschool schedule includes whole group, small group, and independent learning opportunities.One-third of the time is spent in individual choice interest areas that allow children to explore and expand their learning through play. These different structures areprovided to support social-emotional, physical, cognitive and language development. Early literacy experiences focus on oral language, basic concepts, vocabulary, phonemic awareness, phonics, and listening comprehension. Early mathematics experiences focus on number sense, problem-solving, and basic concepts in the areas of geometry/spatial sense, measurement, reasoning, patterns/relationships, and using data. Additional learning opportunities include dramatic play, block play, writing, math, art, music and movement, science and discovery, library exploration, technology,fine motor, and outdoor playtime.

The child’s home and school are their two most important worlds. Our goal is to ensure that we recognize and support parentsas the child’s first teacher. We welcomefamilies and partner with them.Regularly scheduled family engagement activities and parent education opportunities are an important component of our preschool program.

Please note, families must submit the application by a deadline of February 15th. You must reside within the Ƶ Public School District boundaries in order to apply for the Traditional Preschool Program. If you live outside of the Ƶ Public School District boundaries, please contact your home district for early childhood services.

Montessori Preschool

Montessori Early Childhood (Ages 3-6)

The Montessori program is an option that provides an environment consistent with Dr. Maria Montessori's philosophy in which children learn through spontaneous and prescribed activities based on developmental needs as they become self-directed. Ƶ Public Ƶ has preschool through grade 5 at two elementary buildings and grades 6-8 at one middle school.

Program Philosophy

Dr. Maria Montessori believed that the role of education is to create a learning laboratory where the individual is allowed to continue the developmental process, a process begun at conception. This process assists the individual to grow up with a healthy spirit, a strong character and a clear intellect, realizing the interdependence with all of life. The elements of the educational process include the following:

  • Methodology is based on movement, activity and habits of work and order.
  • The child is guided, moving from simple to complex and concrete to abstract concepts for perceptual and conceptual proficiency.
  • The child learns to become inner-directed or self-directed rather than "other-directed".
  • There is intrinsic concern for rhythm, balance, and order, which make the life process possible and provides continuity in nature and the universe.

Program Overview

  • Each Montessori classroom is multi-aged. Preprimary is ages 3-6 or preschool and kindergarten.
  • The classroom environment is designed to facilitate maximum independent learning and exploration by the child.
  • The curriculum is interdisciplinary and interactive.
  • Concepts are taught using materials that encourage exploration, independence and analytical thinking.
  • Lessons are given individually as children are ready for the skill or concept.
  • Drama and art are integrated into the prepared environment.

Please note, families living in the Ƶ School district must submit the application by February 15th, 2024. Families living outside of the Ƶ School district must apply before March 15, 2024.

Advisory Committees

Two committees advise Ƶ Public Ƶ Early Childhood.

Early Childhood Advisory Committee

Ƶ Public Ƶ, along with community partners vested in early childhood education, meet periodically to work collaboratively for ways to best serve all young children and families in the district and maximize all available resources for the community's use. Meetings are open for anyone to attend. For more information on the Early Childhood Advisory Committee, or if you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Cheris Kite at cakite@mpsomaha.org or 402-715-1431.

  • October 26, 2023 (Zoom)-

  • February 22, 2024 (Ron Witt Support Services Center)-Agenda & Minutes

  • May 2, 2024 (Zoom) - Agenda & Minutes

Planning Region 21

Planning Region 21 is a group ofparents and communityprofessionals representing Ƶ Public Ƶ and our families. The group isresponsible for assisting in the planning and implementationof Early Intervention Services.The purpose of the Planning team is to assist in the planning and developmentof family-centered, community-based services for all children, with emphasis onthose with disabilities, birth to age five.

We welcome those who are interested in attending a meeting or joining Planning Region 21. Please contact Amanda Hunt at alhunt@mpsomaha.org or 402-715-8302 for additional information.

2022-23MEETING DATES

  • September 2, 2022- &
  • October 28, 2022- &
  • December 9, 2022- &
  • February 24, 2023- &
  • May 5, 2023- &

2021-22MEETING DATES

  • September 17, 2021 - &
  • November 12, 2021 - &
  • January 14, 2022- Weather day
  • March 11, 2022- &
  • May 13, 2022- &

2020-21MEETING DATES

  • September 18, 2020 - &
  • November 13, 2020 -&
  • January 15, 2021 - &
  • March 12, 2021 - &
  • May 14, 2021 - &

2019-20MEETING MINUTES

  • September 13, 2019Meeting -
  • November 22, 2019 Meeting -
  • January 24, 2020Meeting -
  • May 15, 2020Meeting -

Planning Region 21 Members

  • Ellen Bennett - Nebraska Respite Network
  • Kim Bolan -Education/CoChair
  • Erin Bovick - Parent of a child with special needs
  • April Carter -Early Learning Connection PD Assistant Coordinator
  • Allison Domsch - Services Coordinator
  • Jennifer Haggart - Early Learning Connection
  • Amanda Hunt - Education/Chair
  • Kim Jipp - Services Coordinator
  • Shaista Kiran -Parent of a child with special needs
  • Cheris Kite - EC Curriculum Facilitator
  • Christa Kreft - CRCC - SW Site Director of Operations
  • Sarah Lahman - Kidvanced
  • Denise Larson - Education
  • Christine McKinney - Services Coordinator
  • Lisa Meyer - Curr Dir/Comm Liaison - Imagination Station
  • Mandy Meyer-Parent of a child with special needs
  • Becky Morton - Early Learning Connections
  • Ashley Nielsen -Parent of a child with special needs
  • Sara Reiff - Services Coordinator
  • Nicole Vogel - Services Coordinator
  • Linda Walters - Ƶ Home Visitor
  • Brittney White- Services Coordinator

Grants and Resources

Planning Region Grant Opportunities

If you are a parent of a child with special needs and plan to attend a conference or workshop on topics associated with helping your child, you may be eligible for a grant. Each year, funds are set aside to help families be able to attend conferences without having to worry about the cost. Grants are not based on financial need. Please contact Kim Bolanor 402-715-1140 for more information.

If you are a childcare provider located in the Ƶ Public Ƶ district, grant opportunities may be available to you when attending training/conferences provided by the Nebraska Early Learning Network. Required trainings such as CPR, First Aid, Safe Sleep, etc do not qualify. Please contact Kim Bolanor 402-715-1140 to see if you are eligible to receive a grant to help with funding.

Resources

These resources mayassist parents and caregivers. Focused on children with disabilities, the links below connect to local, regional and national websites to help you locate information about your child’s diagnosis or condition, identify strategies to help you advocate for your child, and develop community connections for resources and support.

Our Partnerships

Ƶ thanks our partner organizations for making our Early Childhood Program such a rich and rewarding experience for our youngest students! We are proud to partner with you.

Staff Resources

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