Posted: Sunday, February 3rd 2013 at 7:08am
Elachee planning new preschool
By Derreck Booth Editor
GAINESVILLE - Elachee Nature Science Center's new Nature Preschool will become the first Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredited school of its type in the southeast.
Elachee officials plan the launch it on August 12. Rhonda Bailey, the school's director, is a former naturalist at the center. She's also a certified teacher.
"A typical day would see us outside at least 50 percent of our time, doing hands on child-directed exploration really," Bailey said.
Three and four year olds can do Tuesday/Thursday or Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes. Each school day is 9:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
"We are going to follow what's called creative curriculum, but we've also added our own components of environmental education," Bailey said.
Bailey will serve as lead teacher as well as director. Angela Belanger will serve as assistant teacher. She has worked for over six years at Elachee and has an Associate's Degree in Early Childhood Education.
The nature-based program is also getting a boost from some new, or adapted digs. Bailey said crews are already working on a new playground of sorts. The Nature Playscape being adapted at the Elachee site in the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, will help get the students outside.
"The slide will be in-ground. It will have a sand pit, some of the typical things, the sand and the building, but they're more natural in nature," Bailey said.
It will also feature a water pump log, slate are easel and little row boat.
Elachee officials are also converting an existing exhibit hall into a classroom for the preschool.
"It's going to be a beautiful facility that focuses on bringing nature into the classroom. It's almost like an extension of being out in nature," Bailey said.
For the three-day program, the cost is $3078 per year or $350 per month. For the two-day program, the cost to parents is $2052 a year or $240 per month.
Link: Elachee Nature Science Center
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