A quality education is all a parent would want for their child. The pursuit of this quality education can take one a long way. The good news for residents of the Marceline R-5 School District is that they can now get their quality education for children ages two and up at the new Marceline Early Learning Center.
“The expansion of the Early Learning Center means that residents of Marceline and surrounding areas have the ability to have educational opportunities for their children beginning at the age of two,” said Dawn Lichtenberg, Marceline R-5 Federal Program Director. “I believe there are many advantages to choosing the ELC. The teacher to student ratio is low, the curriculum is research-based and approved by DESE (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).”
The Marceline Early Learning Center began its life as Kinderland Preschool. A working relationship with the preschool and the school that neighbored it had always existed, but when Marceline R-5 sought a preschool addition, the logical choice was to acquire Kinderland.
“We are now comfortable that the mission is accomplished with the acquisition of the Marceline R-5 Early Learning Center,” said Superintendent Gabe Edgar. “We have faced many challenges over the last six months, but as an administrative team and a School District we always believed it was best for kids!”
Edgar continued: “I first want to tell you that we believed Kinderland was doing and good job with their program, but we also believed we could help enhance from the curriculum and technology standpoint. I had three of my own kids go through Kinderland Preschool and they had wonderful experiences. We just thought we could reach out to a younger population and help improve the transition to Kindergarten. I want to thank Sarah Dunham and Sandy Hoskins for all of their input throughout the process. I want to thank the Kinderland board for their receptiveness to the idea and most of all I want to thank Dawn Lichtenberg for all of her dedication and buy-in. There has been times we talked and thought we were crazy for trying this new idea, but with the help of Dawn I feel things are going great and we have something in place that will enhance learning at a young age and we feel will be beneficial to our District for many years.With the permission of the Marceline R-5 Board of Education, Superintendent Edgar moved forward with the acquisition. The process began early in 2012, and was discussed at many school board meetings throughout the process.“
In April of this year, Edgar estimated the cost to the District for operating Kinderland would be $180,000 per year, but that the fees associated with the facility should allow the District to break even. The R-5 District gained approximately $285,000 worth of assets in the acquisition.
Page 2 of 2 - “Multiple changes have been put into place,” explained Litchtenberg. “First is the fact that a certified early childhood teacher, Beth Teeter, is in the building teaching daily. Mrs. Teeter also assists the other ladies with developing lesson plans that are appropriate for preschool children.”
Litchtenberg continued: “Another change is the set daily schedule that focuses on learning. The teachers really enjoy the structure, and it is also beneficial for all of the children. Every staff member at the ELC is doing a wonderful job putting into place the new curriculum, the Positive Behavior Support System (rewarding students for their good behavior), and schedule.”