Two more Tacoma Public Schools preschool centers will open this fall in the city: one in the North End and the other on the Hilltop.
The new centers, which offer a range of resources for parents and kids in one location, will be in the Hoyt building on Union Avenue and at McCarver Elementary School on South J Street.
Hoyt is a satellite building that was formerly part of nearby Washington Elementary School. With the opening of the new Washington in 2014, primary grade students from Hoyt were able to move to the new building. Hoyt has been repurposed as a preschool center.
New construction at McCarver Elementary, scheduled to open this fall, also makes room for a new preschool center in a building on the McCarver campus that had been used for preschool through first-grade students.
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Last week, the Tacoma School Board formally re-named both buildings to reflect their new functions. They are now the Hoyt Early Learning Center and the McCarver Early Learning Center.
They join the Willard Early Learning Center, which opened in the Dometop neighborhood in 2014.
In addition to housing preschools, the early learning centers offer services such as Child Find, a screening program to identify children with vision, hearing, speech, motor or other disabilities and point parents toward helpful resources.
Opening this fall: Hoyt Early Learning Center and McCarver Early Learning Center
Both new learning centers will also offer a Peer Inclusion preschool designed for a mix of developmentally delayed and typically developing kids.
The Peer Inclusion program at Hoyt is already full, but a new partnership with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, called “Powered by Play,” is accepting applications for the Hoyt location. It is a two-day-a-week class for 2- and 3-year-olds that will operate during the academic year, September through May.
The McCarver center includes office and classroom space. In addition to Peer Inclusion, it will house two Head Start preschools. The federally funded program provides free preschool for children from low-income families.
Also sharing space at the McCarver center are community organizations dedicated to helping children succeed in school: Communities in Schools, Palmer Scholars, Tacoma Housing Authority and Peace Community Center.
In recent years, Tacoma has placed a renewed emphasis on its preschool programs aimed at helping prepare children to enter kindergarten. In addition to the comprehensive centers, the school district offers preschools at more than 30 district schools. They include programs for low-income students, disabled students and two Montessori preschools.