Letters to the Editor

Funding essential for new school district preschool

Thanks to the Vashon Schools Foundation (VSF)  and partner agencies, ​our dream of starting a Vashon School District Spanish language preschool may become a reality.

Studies nationwide have shown that children that show up at primary school with a learning disadvantage are likely to fall behind their peers as they progress through the school system. The disadvantage can be anything from a language barrier to stress experienced at home.

Our new preschool program is designed to better prepare both children that come from Spanish speaking homes, and at-risk children (at-risk students are those who, by virtue of their circumstances, are statistically more likely than others to fail academically) for their first day of school as Chautauqua kindergartner.

Classes will be taught in Spanish, and when the children move to Chautauqua, they will have the opportunity to elect dual language classes for kindergarten as they transition to English-only instruction. English-speaking preschoolers will also benefit from Spanish immersion because it engages their brains and stimulates cognitive development.

VSF and the Vashon School District are dedicated to making our schools work for everyone, and this is one more step toward achieving our goal. But we can’t do it without your help.

You should be getting a card soon in the mail from VSF with a list of priorities for funding. The preschool is at the top of the list.

With $25,000 from VSF, along with a proposed grant from Washington State’s Early Childhood​ ​Education and Assistance Program, ​we hope to inaugurate the  preschool for 14 children who fit this description.

If you would like to know more, I encourage ​you ​to read  ​the work of Thomas and Collier on the success of dual language programs. And please support VSF this year. The support it gives our schools is invaluable.

— Roxanne Lyons
Director of Instructional Services & Grants
Vashon Island School District

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