SYRACUSE — It is the first day of school for Carleton preschoolers. Some are returning students, but for others this is their first year.
As they depart from buses and cars in the school parking lot to begin their new adventure, they are greeted by the school’s executive director, Kay Davis, and several of her staff.
Davis proudly points to the banner hanging outside the front door proclaiming Carleton Preschool a “Five-Star School.”
She said the program received the rating because it demonstrated the highest level of quality according to the Ohio Department of Educations’s licensing standards.
“One of the things this means to our students is that there are more staff members per child,” Davis said.
Studies have shown that 90 percent of brain development occurs by the time a child is 6 years old, and teachers with smaller class sizes have more time to spend with each child individually supporting their development and learning.
Teachers at Carleton have a bachelor’s or master’s degree and many years experience working with young children, another requirement for the rating.
The teachers also complete more than 20 hours of specialized training every two years to expand their education and skills.
Lesson plans are developed for each child with intentional and purposeful activities that meet their “needs, interests and abilities.”
Staff regularly assesses each child to help keep them “on track.” This also lets the teacher adjust how they offer experiences.
“One big part of our program is working with families and neighborhood organizations to provide more opportunities for our students,” Davis said. “We care about the whole child and feel it is important to offer new experiences and stay connected with their community.”
Another aspect to the rating is how well the school supports and values their employees and the retention of good teachers by providing them with things such as health insurance, tuition reimbursement, paid planning time and life insurance.
Students are now in their classrooms, having been introduced to teachers, staff and classmates.
As parents and staff leave the rooms, the children settle into an easy routine. At a glance, one would not recognize this is the first day.
“We are excited about the opportunity to serve preschoolers this year,” Davis said. “We are looking forward to an excellent year.”
For more information regarding early learning and development programs, visit www.earlychildhoodohio.org.
Carleton School is located at 1310 Carleton Alley, Pomeroy, and can be reached by calling 740- 992-6681 for more information on their preschool program and availability.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155, Ext. 2551.