An inclusive play-based preschool will open in January 2020 on the Eastwood Elementary School campus as a partnership between Roseburg Public Schools and Douglas Education Service District.

“I’m super excited about the opportunity to do this,” said Douglas ESD Special Education Coordinator Angela Keeran. “It’s something we’ve been talking about for a long time. We started talking about it last year and to finally see it come to completion it’s really exciting.”

The school is designed to meet the needs of the whole child and will serve students, who turned 4 years old before Sept. 1, four days per week from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with no school on Wednesdays.

Applications for the school are due Nov. 30. The school has slots available for 12 students; four with social learning needs and eight peer role models.

“I think our hope with (Early Childhood Special Education) is that eventually all classrooms will look similarly to what this looks like,” Roseburg Public Schools Early Learning Facilitator Tatum Stedman said. “I think we have an opportunity to explore how to do that best, but we know inclusive classrooms are best for all kids.”

The four with social learning needs will be referred from established programs or childcare facilities, and the goal is to transition those students back into their original program.

It will be the third preschool attached to an elementary school in the Roseburg school district. The other preschools are at Winchester Elementary School and Green Elementary School.

“Our other two sites are on our outskirts of town,” Stedman said. “We needed a central location for our target and space was another huge thing. Eastwood had the space and was willing, so it just made a ton of sense.”

She added that there had also been a large number of applicants from the Eastwood neighborhood for the preschools at the other locations.

Students will not be able to ride the bus.

“Sometimes that can be a sticking point for families, but it’s also another opportunity for families to engage with the teacher on a day-to-day basis,” Stedman said. “Although it can be a deal breaker for some, it seems like most families actually like that.”

Stedman, Keeran and Eastwood Elementary Principal Jennifer Thompson, Eastwood Elementary Learning Specialist Cynthia Wicks, and School Psychologist Rebecca Melton had worked on the project since last spring to get another preschool in the district.

The preschool in Eastwood will have an early childhood special education teacher, a skills trainer, and eight-hour assistant and a four-hour assistant.

“We’re hoping to do parent engagement, home visits and vision planning with other partners to provide wrap around services,” Stedman said.

Sanne Godfrey can be reached at sgodfrey@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4203. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey.

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