TEAM opens school readiness program in Shelton

CAFCA | October 07, 2015 |

 Officials from TEAM, Inc., the city of Shelton, and the Shelton Public Schools Sept. 15 heralded the opening of a preschool classroom at the former Lafayette School on Grove Street.

The room opened earlier this month for 18 students; a ribbon cutting ceremony was held last week.

The staff includes a head teacher and three assistant teachers, TEAM CEO David Morgan said.

The preschool program for 3-to-5 year olds is designed to even the playing field for families unable to afford high-quality preschool instruction. Preschool has become increasingly important over the decades, as kids need to be more academically prepared for kindergarten than they were years ago.

Click here for a column summarizing the changes in education philosophy of the last 50 years.

Today it’s widely accepted that kids who access good early-learning programs benefit in the long run.

The new program in Shelton offers a sliding scale for income-eligible parents. Some pay as little as $50 a week for full-time preschool, with before and after school care built into the program.

Morgan offered “big kudos” to Mayor Mark Lauretti and Shelton officials for their support in establishing the site at the school, which is owned by the city and also houses offices for Center Stage Theatre and the Valley United Way.

TEAM’s first school readiness program in Shelton opened in 2007 at Trinity Lutheran Church on Howe Avenue.

The city had a large wait list and the new classroom funded by a $25,000 startup grant accommodates 18 additional Shelton families.

Click here to visit the Early Education section of TEAM’s website, which offers info on preschool offerings in other municipalities.

TEAM, Inc., by the way, turns 50 this year. A gala celebration is scheduled for Oct. 3. Click here for info.

Data Demonstrates Need

The need for more preschool education is a demonstrable one throughout the Valley.

According to data in “The Valley Now: A 2015 Snapshot,” a 12-page report funded by the Valley Community Foundation, in 2012, 44 percent of preschool-aged children were not enrolled in preschool, even as slots in Valley public schools increased since 2002 — to 429 openings in 2013.

Between 2000 and 2012, Valley-wide preschool enrollment was stable at 56 percent, the report found, while at the same time preschool enrollment increased statewide, from 61 to 64 percent.

According to the report, in 2013 only 57 percent of all third-graders in Valley public schools were reading at goal or above.

In Shelton alone, that figure stood at 72 percent, the highest in the Valley next to Oxford’s 73 percent.

Article continues after report.