This story is part of our Raising The Bar series. Together with parents, educators, business and community leaders, 13 Action News will lead the discussion on improving education in Southern Nevada. We will connect families with solutions that empower our community to build a foundation for a successful future. If you have an idea for a Raising The Bar story, click here to email us at email@example.com .
You want the best for your kids but when it comes to preschool, paying for the best can be a burden. The Clark County School District has preschool programs at 219 of it's 230 elementary schools. But if that doesn't work, city leaders want you to have quality, affordable options.
"All right. now who else would like to be a farm animal? Me! Me! One at a time. So Leia what farm animal would you like to be? I want to be a cow!
Outside at the Acelero Learning Center in the middle of Las Vegas, kids use their imaginations.
"What do you see on the trees? Leaves!"
Inside, they read books and create. Every activity designed to prepare these kids for kindergarten. Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says, "If we can education everybody equitably make it an even playing field, all these youngsters who are born in the areas where there aren't the same positive pieces, crime will go down, cost to government and to society to care for people. Once you have an education, you have an equal opportunity to do something with your life."
Mayor Goodman sets aside city funding to help support several preschool programs like this. For qualifying families, it's free. Others pay on a sliding scale. For those who can afford to pay for all of it, tuition here at the Acelero Learning Center runs $175 a week.
We caught up to Katie Decker, Principal of 3 CCSD elementary schools to ask her how vital a preschool education is. Two of her schools offer preschool but the third doesn't. "There is a significant difference particularly with language when they're not able to participate in preschool education."
The experts say higher income, highly educated families talk more to their kids. They also read more to their kids. But for many children growing up in our cities, this kind of classroom exposure is vital to their kindergarten success--a fact that's not lost on city leaders in Henderson either.
When you visit the Valley View Recreation Center , you see all of the things you'd expect: basketball, racquetball, and fitness equipment. But what you might not expect is Preschool. Seven preschool classrooms take up an entire side of the recreation center.
The preschool program at the City of Henderson is licensed by the state of Nevada. Everything from the curriculum to playtime has a purpose. The program has become so popular it keeps growing and is one of the most highly rated parts of Henderson's parks and rec program.
Tuition for 2-half days a week is as low as $65 a month. Three full days a week? $240 a month. If that's still too steep, there are options according to Adam Blackmore, the Recreation Superintendent. "We consider this program to be affordable but that's a subjective definition so we have a strong scholarship program."
Blackmore says education is a priority for the city of Henderson. And they want everyone to have access to it. "We place strong emphasis on accessibility for all income levels for all social and equity levels."