|Board selects name for new early childhood center|
|Wednesday, November 29, 2017|
The Pattonville Board of Education on Nov. 28 approved renaming the former Briar Crest Elementary School as the Pattonville Early Childhood Center in honor of its transition to a school dedicated to serving children from birth to 5 years of age. As part of the zero tax rate increase bond issue approved by voters in April 2017, the building will become an early childhood center in order to free up classroom space in Pattonville's elementary schools and to enable the district to maintain lower class sizes.
Pattonville's early childhood program has classrooms in most elementary schools and the Pattonville Learning Center. Over the last few years, the program has grown, requiring more classroom space. Briar Crest closed in 2012 due to budget constraints and elementary students were redistricted into existing buildings. Approval of the bond issue enables 14 preschool classrooms currently housed throughout the district to move into the new early childhood center, along with the Parents as Teachers program and early childhood administrative staff.
The early childhood school improvement team (SIT), which consists of parents and staff, led the process for recommending a new name to the superintendent, who made the final recommendation to the board. Several options were put forth based on suggestions from the SIT as well as from preschool students. A survey of early childhood staff indicated the majority of those polled recommended the facility be named the Pattonville Early Childhood Center.
Renovations are currently underway to create 14 classrooms designed for the specific needs of preschool children, and the district will be able to add five more classrooms in the future as needed. Renovation work began in September, but was delayed due to additional requirements from fire officials after permits were initially issued. District officials expect the facility and site renovations to be complete in spring 2018. While some portions of the early childhood program will begin moving into the renovated facility after the work is completed, preschool classes will transition from the elementary schools and the Pattonville Learning Center to the new early childhood center next August.
Other bond issue work in the district identified as part of the 2017 bond issue proposal will be completed over the next two summers. The district has already begun using bond funds to purchase classroom and library furniture promised as part of the bond issue. A list of bond issue projects can be found online at http://www.psdr3.org/newsinfo/pdf/FacilitiesPlan2017.pdf.
Pattonville's early childhood program is paid for by a combination of state/federal funds and parent tuition and provides services for students ages 3 through 5, including those with disabilities. The Parents as Teachers program is a free, voluntary early childhood program designed to help parents be the first and most important teacher to their child(ren). Personal visits, group meetings, play groups and health and developmental screenings are offered to families who have children between birth to school age. Free kindergarten screenings for vision, hearing and development are also available.
Construction crews grade the new drive for the Pattonville Early Childhood Center. A new traffic pattern allow preschoolers to enter a main entrance on the upper level, close to their classrooms.