An early childhood center that would contain all kindergarten classes for Deerfield Public Schools District 109 students rather than house them at one of the Village’s four elementary schools has become a possibility.
That idea was one of the ideas discussed at a master plan facility community engagement meeting Monday at the District office. Approximately 30 members of the public attended, according to Communications Director Cathy Kedjidjian.
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Should the early childhood center be developed it will open the possibility for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for the District’s elementary school students, according to Kedjidian.
The process of reexamining the facilities at the District’s two middle school and four elementary schools began over a year ago and. Representatives from the different schools were told to “dream big” and give the architectural firm of Fanning Howey the opportunity to put as much of that dream into reality as possible.
The possibility of the early childhood center for preschool and kindergarten—both all day and half day—was a major topic. The likely site would be near South Park Elementary School where available land could be acquired through a trade with the Deerfield Park District.
“A half-day kindergarten would still be an option,” School Board President Ellen London said. “This will give us flexibility to have the room for STEM (in the exiting elementary schools).” Kedjidjian made it clear there is not enough space now to do that in the buildings.
Fanning Howey has been conducting a survey to gauge public opinion on issues like all-day kindergarten, an early childhood center and expanded STEM education. The survey will continue through the end of next week and be presented to the Board by the end of the month.
Preliminary results indicate 87 percent of those responding think an all-day kindergarten is a good idea but these is less agreement if that means the class will be in a central location. Though 53 percent said such a change does not affect them, 30 percent do not object to the single location and 13 percent are opposed.
More than 80 percent of those surveyed think STEM education is important with 53 percent considering it very important and 31 percent somewhat important.
According to Kedjidjian, survey results also indicate most people believe the physical facilities are in good shape but would like to see improved air quality, thermal comfort, traffic patterns and science facilities.