Edmonds Family: Kindergarten sign-up, more options for finding child care

Washing dishes at the Childcare Providers Cooperative Preschool.

By Lara Alexander

Edmonds School District presents information fair, kindergarten registration

Formally knows as the annual Edmonds school district information fair, the newly named Families and Communities Engaged (F.A.C.E.) event is coming up soon! Join fellow families, school staff and school board members on Saturday, Jan. 22 from 9 a.m. to noon at Lynnwood High School, 18218 North Road, Bothell. Learn about curriculum, music, sports and more, plus have a chance to win prizes.

Kindergarten registration begins on Monday, Feb. 7. Children who are turning 5 before Aug. 31, 2011 are eligible to enroll in kindergarten for the 2011-2012 school year. Early entrance into kindergarten or first grade may be possible for students who turn 5 or 6 between Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 2011, with a qualifying assessment by a psychologist. To qualify, your child must demonstrate above-average ability in several assessment areas.

Kindergarten registration packets will be available at F.A.C.E. and half-hour information sessions about registration for kindergarten start at 9:15 and 10:45 a.m.

<h3>Looking for child care?</h3>

Choosing child care is one of the most difficult tasks that parenthood brings. The choices are dizzying and there are so many pros and cons to weigh, that before long you’ll be making charts and graphs to sort it all out. Babysitter or nanny? Daycare or preschool? Co-op or SAHM? Ack!

This article is part of a series on finding child care for Edmonds families. Continue to follow My Edmonds News’ family column to learn more about  options and resources available in the Edmonds area.

One of the most affordable options for childcare is an in-home family childcare provider. There are many dedicated parents who have been running their own businesses caring for neighborhood children since you were a child yourself. The cost of care with an in-home provider can be considerably less than child care centers, but if you choose right, the quality of care is comparable!

For families that live between Shoreline and Everett, there is a unique resource for families who are considering in-home day care. The Childcare Providers’ Cooperative Preschool was started in 1980 by two in-home childcare providers and is going strong today. Housed in a retired elementary school in Mountlake Terrace, this one-of-a kind co-op preschool invites providers to take on the role of parents by bringing their charges to the co-op.

“I can’t imagine running a daycare without this preschool,” said one provider who has been in the business for decades, and has been in the co-op preschool for 12 years. “It rejuvenates us, as providers,” says another, “it keeps us from getting burn-out, gets us out and talking to other adults, and kids get to do the messy things that we don’t always want to have at home!” On my visit, older children were engaged in pre-kindergarten tutoring with writing exercises, while younger kids were having a splash with the water sensory table.

Each participating provider brings children in their care to the co-op preschool two days a week, for two hours per day. The kids are grouped by age and play at a station facilitated by one of the providers. Everyone comes together for circle time and other group activities as well. The Providers’ Co-op is affiliated with Edmonds Community College, and a college instructor provides monthly trainings in early childhood education to all the participating providers. After hearing of all of the benefits of the co-op, it’s amazing that this model has not been replicated elsewhere, but the co-op providers say it is the only preschool of its kind in the state.

If you are interested in finding an in-home provider who participates in the co-op, call Chris at 425- 778-4879 and she will tell you which one of the partners has openings. You can also email their chairperson, barbstreck@aol.com, to learn more about the co-op preschool.

To broaden your search for daycare, you can access personalized assistance through the very helpful Childcare Resources program. In addition, the Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network’s toll-free Consumer Education Line at 1-800-446-1114 can help you can find out which child care providers have openings in your area. Using a computerized database of all licensed child care providers in the region, the resource and referral counselors search by geographical area, age of children, and hours of operation.They also provide a packet of resources on parenting and choosing child care and can answer specific questions about your child care needs.

Another helpful resource is the preschool list maintained by the Edmonds School District. The list can be found by clicking here.

Continue to follow this column each week for more in our series about finding child care!

Edmonds mom Lara Alexander keeps busy chasing after a toddler, growing and cooking good food, and writing about it all. You can find more of her writing on her blog at www.food-soil-thread.com. If you have Edmonds-specific family activities for possible inclusion in Lara’s column, email them to family@myedmondsnews.com.

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