May 6, 2008
For immediate release
The Harding Early Childhood Initiative, a collaboration between UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School and Harding School, will hold an information meeting for parents interested in enrolling their children in a new high quality preschool program at Harding School that will begin August 2008. This free informational meeting, open to all, will be Tuesday, May 20 at 6 pm in the Harding School Library, 1625 Robbins Street. The meeting will be led by Harding School’s Principal, Dr. Sally Kingston. No reservations are necessary.
The fee-based, preschool program will be open to children ages 3-5 and priority will be given to families living in the Harding School neighborhood and to employees of the Santa Barbara School District. The program will follow the acclaimed Reggio Emilia approach that provides highly engaging and student-centered learning. Jamie Stratford, M.Ed. and teaching credential, UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School, will be the teacher. The program will include healthy and nutritious meals from Harding School’s site-based, zero-waste cafeteria. Tentative plans include the possibility of an extended school day and extended school year for this preschool.
“We are committed to working closely with the Harding School Community to develop the very best pre-school experience for families in the Harding neighborhood and beyond,” says Dr. Jane Close Conoley, Dean of the Gevirtz School. “The combination of Harding educators’ teaching experience and our research and evaluation capacity promises to create a child and family centered educational experience of the highest quality.”
The Harding Early Childhood Initiative (HECI) is a partnership among multiple stakeholders committed to narrowing the achievement gap by developing high quality early learning experience in preschool through second grade. Members of the partnership include teachers, parents, community members, the principal, Santa Barbara School Districts administrators, professors and the dean from the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education (GGSE). Working together since spring of 2005, HECI has initiated new programs at Harding School. For example, the Bialis Family Foundation provided funding for a new separate preschool/ kindergarten playground where students develop social skills and emotional regulation through participation in developmentally-appropriate and structured outdoor curriculum. Through HECI, the GGSE has become a significant partner by providing direct support to classrooms. The HECI vision includes an early childhood major at UCSB with Harding as a lab school.
[Jane Close Conoley and Sally Kingston, Ph.D. are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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