KinderCasa, located in the Norwalk Catholic School Early Childhood Center at 77 State St., provides a free, “developmentally appropriate,” Christian preschool for children of families whose primary language is Spanish. While Spanish is supplemented when necessary, the aim is have the children surrounded by the English language to help them begin kindergarten “on a more even footing with their English-speaking peers.”
The preschool had 16 children in its classes last year, seven of which are entering kindergarten this year. Those new and returning students will have the opportunity to benefit from a new creative curriculum. New developmental indicators will be assessed as well, which will help to give the students the assistance they need to progress in their education.
“This has been instrumental in providing supporting evidence when referring students for special education services,” the center’s annual report said.
This upcoming school year the KinderCasa also will begin implementing the Ohio’s Early Learning Assessment (ELA) to prepare the youngsters for kindergarten.
“It is almost universally agreed upon that the highest return on investment comes from preschool education and kindergarten readiness,” the report said. “Having increased our personnel, this next year we will extend our school day so that our students will be in an English-speaking school environment for three full hours each day. Knowing that it requires greater resources, we have secured commitments that it will be funded.”
Last year KinderCasa had just more than $33,000 in expenses, $23,901 of which went toward payroll. For the upcoming year, the center expects the payroll to increase slightly to $26,200, which it said is due to the extended school days.
The center, while offering free care and kindergarten-prep, is funded largely by donations. Anyone who would like to help support the preschool can send checks to KinderCasa Preschool, 77 State St., Norwalk.