New grant helps Discovery Gardens Preschool grow
Prescott Unified School District’s Discovery Gardens Preschool was recently awarded a $143,000 grant by the Arizona Department of Education. This grant will help the District’s Quality First accredited preschool grow by 30 more four-year-old students this coming school year.
According to Discovery Gardens’ Director, Stacy Williams, the grant helps pay for staff and supplies to provide free preschool to qualifying students.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded this funding and provide quality preschool for more students,” said Williams.
Discovery Gardens is a tuition-based preschool for students from two years and ten months to those preparing to enter Kindergarten. In addition to the new grant providing more families with access to preschool, Discovery Gardens provides other scholarships—through its accreditation by First Things First’s Quality First program and the generous donations of community members.
“We have an incredible staff of certified teachers and para-professionals,” Williams stated. She added that, “our classrooms are inclusive and designed to meet the learning needs of every student we serve.” Williams, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and master’s in Early Childhood Education, has been with Discovery Gardens for 12 years, serving as the director since 2012. Her staff includes those trained to provide special education services, as well as having access to therapeutic and health professionals through PUSD.
Sandy DeKemper, a longtime paraprofessional who now volunteers at Discovery Gardens, was very excited to hear about the new grant. DeKemper, who sends her grandchildren to the preschool, stated “it’s the best in town!”
“I wouldn’t send them anywhere else,” she said with a big a smile. DeKemper also encourages any interested parents to schedule a visit to Discovery Gardens.
Paul Katan, PUSD’s federal programs director and grant writer, worked with Williams to secure the funding. According to Katan, “this funding was previously unavailable in Yavapai County and we are very lucky to have it.” He went on to explain how PUSD receiving this grant now makes scholarships available to Yavapai County residents who have begun working and learning about early childhood education. Katan stated, “in addition to serving more 4-year-olds at Discovery Gardens, the Preschool Development Grant has a scholarship program that pays tuition, books and fees for folks wanting to complete a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.” He added, “the grant is great for Discovery Gardens and for aspiring early childhood educators throughout Yavapai County.”
For more information or to schedule a visit to Discovery Gardens, call 928-442-1283 or visit prescottschools.com. For more information about the Preschool Development Grant, email firstname.lastname@example.org. And for information about the PDG Scholarships for early childhood education, call 855-818-6613 or email email@example.com.
Information provided by PUSD.