Edith Teter Preschool shines

Members of the Edith Teter Preschool team celebrate their Colorado SHINES Level Five achievement at a reception Thursday given by the Park County RE-2 Board of Education. (Left to  right) Carla Scholl, Robin Medina, Lisa Davis, Cara Doyle, Natalie Hermansen, Debbie Kelley, Melody Robison. Not pictured: Roz Aceto, Keely Voorhis, Jamie Morrow, Sarah Shaw. (Photo by Chris Zak)

Edith Teter Preschool in Fairplay has received the highest possible rating by Colorado SHINES, the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early care and learning programs.

The Level Five rating reflects the preschool staff’s dedication to providing a high-quality learning environment that supports the development of young children in the South Park area. Out of 3,859 licensed preschools, only 86 are Level Five, according to the Colorado Office of Early Childhood.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” said Carla Scholl, Edith Teter Preschool director. “The early education staff here are top-notch every day, not just when they are being rated. The process is long and grueling, but in the end, we know this incredibly detailed effort can only increase our ultimate quality.”

The center-based preschool currently has 47 children enrolled in classes, serving ages two and one half  through pre-kindergarten. In addition, ETE offers free early childhood development assessments, parent education programs, socialization play groups for toddlers, and connections to community resources.

“Edith Teter Preschool sets the foundation for life-long learning in Park County School District RE-2,” explained Joe Torrez, school district superintendent. “The staff set their goal for a Level Five rating long ago, and through focus, dedication and commitment to our youngest learners have achieved that goal.

 “As superintendent, I’m very proud of our staff and their accomplishment of a Level Five rating after a very rigorous process.”

Early childhood programs are evaluated on a number of criteria including: workforce and professional development, family partnerships, leadership, management and administration, learning environment, and child health.

“Our team rocked in all five categories,” said Scholl proudly. “Programs undergoing a Colorado SHINES rating must score at least 93 to rank at this highest level, and we scored 120.”

The early childhood team, led by Carla Scholl, was honored by the Park County RE-2 Board of Education Thursday, May 16 in Fairplay. Kim Bundgaard, board president, presented a plaque to Scholl as part of the special reception.

Research shows that the early years are essential to child development, according to information from the Colorado SHINES website.

The program literature states, “Neuroscientists have shown that the first five years — in particular the first three — have the greatest potential for setting a strong foundation for lifelong learning and health. During that time, children’s brains are developing at rapid rates with 700-1000 new neural connections being formed every second.”

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