Hope Childhood Development Center
Where: Catholic Family & Child Services, 516 S. Chelan Ave.
When: 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., or 1 to 4 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays beginning Oct. 1.
Ages: 3 years to kindergarten
To donate or register: Call 888-3332, or email email@example.com.
WENATCHEE — Catholic Family & Child Service is opening a new preschool designed to help kids with developmental delays or behavioral problems learn from their peers.
The Hope Childhood Development Center will host an open house from 10 a.m. to noon Friday. The school opens on Oct. 1.
Jessica Frank, the center’s director, said one of the major gaps identified in local preschools was the lack of programs designed to help students with special needs.
“Parents didn’t know what to do with kids who have developmental delays or behavioral issues,” she said.
Often, students who had a difficult time in a standard preschool setting were removed from the facility. “They were jumping from center to center, and families were having a really hard time,” Frank said.
The center is accepting registration for enrollment.
This program relies on having more teachers per student, as well as students without any problems who can act as models for the other students.
It also classes for parents so concepts can be used at home.
“We’ve seen a lot of research on this peer model approach, and it helps both the kiddos who need help, and the peers, who learn empathy and classroom skills,” Frank said. “From both ends, it’s a great experience.”
Due to the comparatively higher cost of the program — $300 per month per student — the organization is also looking for business sponsors and donations to its scholarship fund.
Frank said more than half of the parents who have heard about the program and contacted them worry they won’t be able to afford the higher cost.
A business sponsoring a child will get to see that child’s progress, and receive art and photos that they can use in their business or on a social media page.
People can also provide partial sponsorship.
The center is writing grants to help reduce the cost of the program, but that’s difficult to do for a new program, she said.