By ASHLEY KAPSCH | For the Independent
Stepping Stones Learning Center and Preschool will open its doors to children 8 years old and younger.
The center, located a 1950 Pottery Ave., Suite 124, held its grand opening on July 17.
The educational center plans to work with parents to ensure the best possible education for their child with “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” classes and an “Introduction to Preschool” class held twice a week for 3- and 4-year-olds.
“It really does take a whole village to raise a child,” said Terri Dettloff, owner and director of the center.
Standing firm to the age old saying, the center has happily teamed up with such programs as “Ready! for Kindergarten” and the “Professional Learning Community.” They welcome any programs and organizations that seek to aid in the educational and social enrichment of the children.
The center’s first full year will begin Sept. 5 and will be open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. They will follow the South Kitsap School District’s schedule as far as holidays and weather closures. In the meantime, they offer several August camps running from from 9:30 a.m. to noon Monday to Thursday. A $50 fee per camp covers all materials and a snack.
Dettloff said the center and preschool will be utilizing a Christian-based curriculum during the school year that encourages the children to learn about the faith along with their letters and numbers. Each class will have a maximum of 12 students in order to “benefit from the hands-on teaching.”
She hopes to continue providing the community.
“We’ve worked hard with providing a quality preschool focused on academic achievement that will lay a solid foundation for a successful education future for every child that passes through our doors,” Dettloff said.
Dettloff has an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Associate of Applied Science degree and has an ECE administration certificate. She has 10 years of experience, which includes more than six years as a preschool director. Dettloff also has worked with teachers to create an academic curriculum.
Joining Dettloff is Kristen Depoe, a Penn State University alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She brings five years of experience of teaching at the preschool level in the South Kitsap School District and wants to instill “a love of learning” in the children she works with.
Depoe said she plans a heavy emphasis on literature in the classroom, using books and stories to discover the world and to develop vocabulary. She also plans to use music to add a fun twist on learning new skills.
“Be cautious, however, plans are already underway to get messy with paint, water and dirt among an assortment of other material,” Depoe said..
Dettloff noted there is a growing need to inaugurate children earlier to a school setting now that more and more elementary schools are switching to all-day kindergarten.
SKSD is beginning a three-year plan during the 2014-2015 school year that has the goal of offering all-day kindergarten free of charge as soon as possible.
Starting in September the program will be offered free at Burley Glenwood, East Port Orchard, Olalla, Orchard Heights and Sidney Glen elementary schools. The program will be offered with a tuition of $200 per month at Hidden Creek, Manchester, Mullenix Ridge, South Colby and Sunnyslope.
During the second year of the plan, two more schools will offer the program without charge and by the 2016-2017 school year the goal will be to have the final three schools holding all-day kindergarten without charge.
Dettloff added she hopes to be more than ready to send her first wave of preschoolers into all-day kindergarten without any worry come the fall of 2015.
For more information, go online to www.steppingstoneslc.tv or call 360-536-1276.