4Cs to Open Cloverdale Preschool

Kat Gore – Cloverdale Revielle
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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Cloverdale Unified School District Superintendent Jeremy Decker has been working with Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County (4Cs) to relocate their preschool program that was in Healdsburg to Cloverdale, with the goal of opening when school starts in the fall. The new program will be called 4Cs Cloverdale Preschool and will serve 32 children.

“Our ultimate goal as a school district is to make sure our students are as ready as they can possibly be coming into kindergarten. We will work very closely with 4Cs to ensure that takes place and I think this (preschool) will help tremendously,” Decker said.

Decker said that Cloverdale has a “huge need” for another preschool. 4Cs Cloverdale Preschool will accept children from Geyserville and Healdsburg, but cater mainly to Cloverdale families.

The demand for another preschool was highlighted when the district did a survey, given to kindergartners in the first few weeks of school, that measures physical and health readiness, social-emotional readiness and school-ready knowledge and classifies if students are “ready-to-go” at kindergarten entry.

“We surveyed 78 of our kindergartners to see how many of them went to preschool or transitional kindergarten and we found that 31 percent of students who attended preschool or transitional kindergarten were considered ready-to-go and only 10 percent of students with no preschool or transitional kindergarten experience were considered ready-to-go. That is a significant different,” Decker said.

The assessment, known as the Kindergarten Student Entrance Profile, also found that less than half of kindergartners and transitional kindergartners attended preschool/child care before starting at the elementary school. “The big reasons were it wasn’t affordable, and they couldn’t get in,” Decker said. There is only one district-run preschool program currently and Decker said there is a hefty waitlist.

4Cs Executive Director Melanie Dodson said the relocation is a “great opportunity.”

“We’re excited to stay in the North County and continue to serve families who have the need. We look forward to a great partnership with the school district and with the community,” Dodson said.

“We had a state-funded program that had been run on the Healdsburg Elementary School campus for over 40 years and we lost our building – it was damaged by water. We started looking at the possibilities to reconvene the exact same type of program because we wanted the capacity of 32 children, and Jeremy (Decker) called and said ‘We have this building, come look!’ Dodson said. “It really matched what we were looking for.”

Decker said the preschool is going to be transformative for Cloverdale. “Having been in preschool makes such a difference for how ready you are to walk into kindergarten,” he said. “To be able to offer 32 more seats is amazing for our families.”

4Cs currently has 11 programs in Sonoma County and serves primarily low income families. Some use the programs for free while other pay on a sliding scale.

“The annual cost of preschool is approximately $10,000 a year, so for low-income, working families, it is almost unattainable without some sort of subsidy support,” Dodson said.

4Cs Cloverdale Preschool will be located near the Johanna Echols-Hansen Memorial Continuation High School and Eagle Creek Community Day School classrooms. There are two large portable buildings available that have been unused for the past few years, Decker said. The preschool program is planned for the front building, and the second building in the back is unoccupied. The district and 4Cs will look at that building and see if there is an interest for further collaboration.

The Healdsburg Child Development Preschool lost its longtime location on the Healdsburg Elementary School campus in March 2015. The preschool program had operated in Healdsburg since the 1970s.

At the time, 32 children were left without a preschool, until grants by the Healdsburg chapter of American Association of University Women and Community Foundation Sonoma County allowed the preschool to move into a facility also used by Boy Scout Troop 21 of Healdsburg. 4Cs moved out of that location in August 2015.

About 18 of the 32 displaced children moved on to kindergarten this past fall. Of the additional remaining children, 4Cs put them in their other programs, Dodson said.

4Cs is looking to recruit teachers with child development permits and Early Care and Education (ECE) units, and a permitted site supervisor for 4Cs Cloverdale Preschool. If qualified and interested in applying, contact 4Cs Human Resource Director Sheila McGlothlin at employment@sonoma4cs.org or 522-1413 x105.