A Jefferson Early Childhood Center will help our community's children build, learn, and grow.

With much anticipation, the new Jefferson Early Childhood Center will offer enhanced security, parking, environmentally sound structures, and greatly needed classroom space with ample opportunity for special education teachers to work with children in an environment conducive to privacy and respect. It will also offer exciting opportunities for the development of sensory and motor skills in unique spaces that will help children explore, learn, develop confidence, and discover their individual talents.

The new Center will be built conservatively and guided by financial prudence, environmental responsibility, and long-term sustainability. It will be located just south of the existing building, offering a new bus drop-off location as well as staff and visitor parking. Children will be escorted into the new Center from the drop-off location by faculty. Additionally, parents entering the building will find a more secure, welcoming environment in the main entrance, which is aligned with an interior courtyard and incidental space to provide interactive opportunities for parents, students, and staff. Other areas of building consideration include an indoor sensory courtyard, an indoor motor space, an outdoor playground, and targeted areas for scientific demonstrations and dramatic play that will provide specialized learning outside the designated classroom spaces.

One of the most exciting aspects of the new Center will be the classroom structure designed to share integrated therapy space. Each set of two classrooms will share a larger room for key activities and individualized attention. This innovative design keeps students engaged in the classroom while receiving additional support from specialized teachers without feeling isolated. A bathroom for both sets of classrooms will allow for greater efficiency, more flexibility, and safety for the children and teachers.

The Need

As more children with increased needs require services, the time to build the new Jefferson Early Childhood Center has never been more urgent. Early childhood services are in high demand, and state mandates require the District to lead and serve all. Furthermore, the existing outdated building is deteriorating requiring costly repairs that do nothing to address the program needs. The building is not up to today’s standards for accessibility, security, environmental safety, equipment, furnishings, or space, making it difficult for the exemplary staff to work effectively with each child on an individual need or in a group setting.

The Campaign & Goal
We need your financial support to make this new Center a reality for children and the community.  The District’s tax revenue will pay for the basic building through a lease agreement, with lease payments provided for in the District’s annual operating budget. With a fiscally conservative approach to design, the District still needs community support to make this Center a place for children to build, learn, grow, and shape a positive foundation for years of success. Thus several key building appointments and furnishings need to be supplemented with private support. About $2 million is needed. A campaign to raise this money is being led by the Student Excellence Foundation. Your investment in building a new Jefferson Early Childhood Center will be realized in the long-term success of young students who become responsible adults and community citizens.
About Jefferson

Jefferson was built in 1958 as an elementary school; it was never intended to house an early childhood program for children ages 3-5, most of whom have special needs. About 2/3 of the students at Jefferson have some type of a special need or disability, and 1/3 of students are typically developing students who pay tuition to attend the school. Students have access to a wide variety of services at Jefferson including speech development therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Many students use special assistive technology or other equipment to help them participate in class. As is best practice, Jefferson staff strive to blend classrooms with students who have special needs and typically developing peers, creating the optimal learning environment.

Your donation will support the following building enhancements

Indoor Sensory Courtyard

The indoor sensory courtyard at Jefferson Early Childhood Center will offer students at all levels of development the opportunity to explore and learn using all their senses. Sensory learning is an important tool in the development of each child’s academic and social growth. Sensory play builds language, social, and motor skills, while encouraging creative thinking as children explore new ways to use materials. Areas within the sensory courtyard may include a reading nook, a science table, a music center, a writing space, an art table and a building area. Exposure to intuitive learning will allow each child’s natural curiosity to grow seamlessly into critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity. Most importantly, children will have the opportunity to succeed within their own level of development, providing them the necessary confidence for future success.

Indoor Motor Space

Preschoolers need opportunities to practice movement – that is how they learn and grow. Children with differing needs and abilities will benefit from the indoor motor spaces to be included at the Center. Preschoolers need time and space every day to develop their gross and fine motor skills. Developing these skills help children gain strength and confidence in their bodies, providing them with good physical and emotional health. During each school day, students will have the time to develop skills like balance, spatial awareness and gross motor skills through a variety of activities. Building these skills will prepare them to tackle more complex skills in the future.

Outdoor Playground

Playing outdoors has numerous health benefits for everyone,especially younger children. The outdoor playground will offer students at the Center the opportunity to develop their learning abilities and social skills through constructive outdoor play. Providing an outdoor play area encourages children to use built-up energy and become more independent. The playground will be customized to enable children at all developmental stages the ability to enjoy equally the equipment and activities. With a focus on engaging children at their development level, the playground will provide opportunities for building confidence while playing with peers.

Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment

The addition of new and modern classroom furniture will support a collaborative learning curriculum at Jefferson. Early childhood desks, tables, chairs and other up-to-date materials will create an environment that is stimulating for early learners. Often overlooked, these elements of a classroom are integral facets of early childhood learning.