More than two dozen preschool kids hit the playground at Culver School. The children, who are all enrolled in the Culver early childhood program, were joined by Niles District 71 Supt. John Kosirog, Principal Peggie Maniscalco, Director of Student Services Laura Guarraci and several preschool teachers and aides for the formal opening of the new play area.
The area, which was formerly covered with blacktop, has been landscaped with young children in mind. Topped with a soft composite surface, it contains a variety of colorful play equipment designed for 3- and 4-year-olds. The play area is surrounded by a small oval track where the youngsters can ride tricycles. The preschoolers will spend 20-25 minutes per day in the new playground.
Kosirog said, “This shows our school board’s commitment to top-notch preschool and early childhood programs.”
Guarraci added, “We tried to maximize use of the space. The kids will have lots to do and won’t be standing around.”
Preschool teacher Nicole Rahe noted, “We tried to address all aspects of development, such as motor skills and learning to take turns.”
Culver staff were involved in planning the space and choosing the equipment for the preschool playground. Next summer, the school plans to renovate an existing, adjacent play area for the higher grades.
There are currently 42 students in the Culver early childhood program. Two classes take place in the morning on regular school days and a third class meets in the afternoon. In addition to Rahe, the program is staffed by teacher Stephanie Strzelecki and teaching assistants Julie Anne Matthieu and Elise Freier.
“To parents considering our preschool program I would say that we strive to create a loving and safe environment where the students feel comfortable and safe in their first school experience,” Strzelecki said. “We focus on the development of the whole child and really promote social-emotional skills that must be practiced, such as sharing and problem-solving with others. Preschool-aged children need to be active with hands-on activities, and that is exactly what we provide for them on a daily basis.”