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Mon, Sept. 23

HUSD preschool joins movement to improve early education

After making some upgrades at the preschool, a two-year process to attain NAEYC accreditation culminated last spring with a site visit by an independent professional evaluator from NAEYC.

"The evaluator spent an entire day conducting inspections, asking questions and completing paperwork," said Cindy Lazzari, Bright Futures coordinator.

Next, a four-month wait ensued while a national panel reviewed the evaluator's report and finally HUSD was apprised of the results.

"When the district was notified that Bright Futures received NAEYC accreditation, we were extremely pleased," Turner said. "I applaud the staff of Bright Futures for their efforts to achieve this big step."

The preschool, located at Liberty Traditional School, 3300 N. Lake Valley Road, received NAEYC accreditation for a five-year period.

"We are proud to be accredited by NAEYC and recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards, Lazzari said. "This lets families in our communities know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences."

Bright Futures served over 66 HUSD students in the 2002-03 school year and opened the 2003-04 year in newly remodeled rooms on the south side of the Liberty Traditional campus.

"At first we were apprehensive about moving, but our new facility affords us a great deal more room and additional playground with grass and shade," said Stacy Bakk, a Bright Futures teacher.

Screenings of children 2 through 5 years of age are conducted on the first Friday of each month, to determine students who are qualified under the three Individuals with Disabilities Education Act categories of preschool speech/language, preschool moderate delay, or preschool severe delay.

At Bright Futures, students receive speech therapy, occupational and/or physical therapy, music therapy, breakfast or lunch and developmentally appropriate early literacy and play activities.

"When a child has delays in speech/language, cognitive or motor skills, early intervention becomes more critical," said Irene Jacobs, director of the School Readiness Board of the Governor's Office for Children, Youth and Families, who presented Bright Futures with its national five-year accreditation.

For more information on HUSD's Bright Futures Preschool, call Cindy Lazzari at 759-4547 or Special Services at 759-4040.

Contact the reporter at ckniola@prescottaz.com

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