JOHNSTON, Iowa – Johnston Early Learning Academy is welcoming back students with new education tools.
The preschool opened back in August 2018 and is located inside the renovated Henry A. Wallace Elementary School.
Its students will be able to learn about different subjects like music, STEM, art, motor skills and more in its indoor playground.
Johnston Early Learning Academy Director Joy Palmer said the indoor playground can open up to its outdoor playground as well.
"Due to temperatures, especially in Iowa, our early childhood regulations require that kids are not outside when it's extremely cold. Due to that, we provide them indoor learning and being able to use those motor skills in a space that is safe and enjoyable." Palmer said.
The goal inside each preschool classroom is developmental play.
“They learn all of physically, socially, emotionally, and academically through their play,” Palmer said.
Johnston Early Learning Academy Preschool Teacher Gretchen Camp said the additional space helps her think outside of the box for lesson plans.
“There has been a lot of push from Joy our leader to really start thinking about different ways of doing things since we have the space to do that. This year for example, I opened up outside of my classroom as part of our pretend area and that is something I have never done before,” Camp said.
The preschool can hold up to 400 students in 12 classrooms. Palmer said right now the facility has 346 preschool students and it is using 10 of its rooms around the clock.
In addition to the classrooms is a similar open community space seen in the elementary school. Camp said the space allows all the students in different classrooms to get to know each other.
“Our learning just isn’t confined to our classroom. We have a lot more space where we can pull out small groups out here, or we can pull out whole classrooms out in the community space,” Camp said.
Palmer said there are many advantages of having the preschool and elementary school in the same building.
“The one thing that is wonderful about us being in the same campus, is those older students come down and they engage in all kinds of academic, social, emotional activities with our student,” Palmer said.
Palmer said many students will come and read stories to the preschool students.
The preschool is opening up its enrolling process on January 30th at 8:00 a.m. for the 2019-2020 school year. People can go online to register. You do not need to be a Johnston student to enroll your student, however the preschool does not provide transportation service.
Johnston Early Learning Academy is located at 6207 NW 62nd Avenue, Johnston.