Take the First Step!

Take the First Step!
Posted on 08/12/2022

Preschool is the first step to educational success

Published in The Desert Sun and The Uken Report by Jay Rallion, Ed.D., Principal Desert Sands Unified School District Preschools


In just a matter of weeks, children in the Coachella Valley will be returning to school. Our valley offers a wealth of opportunities and choices for our children from the highest quality public schools to private academies to the most sophisticated of virtual learning programs. In addition to the known rigorous academic programs for our kindergarten through high school students, and even our transitional kindergarten for those not yet quite old enough to enter kindergarten, the preschool programs are among the best in the country.

There are parents of three year olds who question the importance of early education. As the principal for the preschools in Desert Sands Unified School District, I can attest to the fact that children interacting at that age with the direction of highly trained education professionals makes a difference in their academic progress creating a strong foundation for life.

The importance of family and interaction with members of the family unit cannot be minimized but supplementing the learning that takes place in the home is equally vital.

The academic in me wants to talk about approaches to learning self-regulation, social emotional development, language and literacy development, English language development, cognition (including math and science), and physical development/health. But the practitioner in me wants parents to understand the basis of preschool and the impact it will have for the rest of their lives.

Preschool children learn to interact positively with other children while solving conflicts in a positive manner. They develop an understanding of their emotions, feelings, and behavior and how their actions affect others. The preschool environment gives them the opportunity to interact with both adults and children as they build their self-confidence.

Early literacy lessons are incorporated into every activity of the preschool day. Children learn new vocabulary while singing, chanting, and talking about books that are read to them. They discuss the books and find links to their own lives. They begin to appreciate the joy of reading while learning how words are made and written.

Math lessons are fun as children learn about numbers, quantity, measurements, patterns, and basic shapes. Teachers design age appropriate lessons that appeal to preschoolers to engage them in their learning.

Preschool classrooms are set up with different learning centers that give them the opportunity to select their learning. The colors, materials, patterns, and furniture are all geared to their age level and play becomes learning.

There are a multitude of studies available to share with parents of preschoolers. All local schools can assist in discussing the importance of preschool with parents. As a representative of Desert Sands Unified School District, I look forward to sharing our programs with families in our community. We provide full and part day programs through the national Head Start classrooms and through the California State Preschool Program (CSPP). Both of these are free to all those who qualify.

Our preschool programs are located at seven district school sites, an apartment complex in Indio, and a child development center in our district office campus in La Quinta. Nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided as part of the programs. Parents are a key to the success of the programs and they participate in local and county interactive sessions that adapt local learning to the students we serve.

For more information about Desert Sands preschools, please call us at (760) 771-8775. Reach out to a preschool in your community and talk with both English and Spanish speaking staff members and teachers as they are waiting to welcome your children to take that first step.

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