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Cathedral triples capacity for quality Early Childhood learning
One strategy to reach Prosper Lincoln’s Early Childhood goal of ensuring children are kindergarten ready, is to increase capacity of high quality programs. Jeremy Ekeler, Principal at Cathedral of the Risen Christ School, admitted that their day care and preschools needed a new approach in order to help meet this need in the community.
“We used to have a preschool and daycare, but with no real distinction,” Ekeler explained. Three years ago, administration at Cathedral began researching a new approach, ultimately settling on Nature Explore as the best option for their community of families.
“Prosper Lincoln connected me with people who had tangible research and data that backed up what we knew anecdotally,” Ekeler said. “Discussions with people I met through the Lincoln Early Childhood Network and Michelle Suarez were inspiring, and the connections we made we invaluable.”
When the new 3-4 year old and pre-kindergarten classrooms opened in 2016, 17 placements filled. Gradually, the program expanded to an afternoon class for families that weren’t sure if their child was ready for Kindergarten yet. That lead to 48 placements.
This year, they’ve settled on a menu of options that allows families to use a single class or blended approach depending on their needs, resulting in 65 students. Every slot was quickly filled, illustrating the need for this type of programming in the community.
Quality early learning produces effects long into the future. “We’re already seeing improvements in our 2nd and 3rd graders,” said Ekeler.
“They say, ‘The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today,’ said Ekeler. “That’s the approach we take to early childhood.”