Preschool children at Beaver Creek School "broke ground" on the expansion of the preschool Jan. 28 in a ceremony with invited guests like school board members, county Supervisor Tom Thurman, builder Bill Palmer, firefighters and teachers.
RIMROCK - Back when Judy McBride was superintendent of Beaver Creek School, it was clear that a preschool was needed in the area. The means of getting one off the ground were not nearly as clear.
It took time for the project to become reality and a little more time for its impact to be felt in the kindergarten classrooms. But its success has been a boon to early education at BCS. Its growth has necessitated expansion, with ground breaking for a new building celebrated on Jan. 28.
Karin Ward said a preschool was one of the first topics of conversation she had with McBride when Ward was taking over administration of the K-8 district. "She said it was something she always wanted," Ward said.
Children were coming into kindergarten without the basics of social interaction, let alone knowledge of ABCs or 123s. Many were already behind before they could even get started. Catching up was an elephant-sized problem every year.
It showed up consistently in testing.
That was the basis of a preschool at last becoming part of Beaver Creek School. Now part of the a Quality First program through First Things First, the preschool has about 27 students, quite a crowd for the original rooms it started in.
Now, $100,000 worth of funding from First Things First is allowing the successful preschool to expand with a new two-room complex in the works. The children themselves "broke ground" for the new building in a short-but-sweet ceremony Monday afternoon.
"We want to make sure our young children have access to early education," said Claire Louge, Community Outreach coordinator for First Thing First in the Yavapai Region. "It's so important to give them the opportunity to succeed in school and in life."
County Supervisor Tom Thurman much of the applause for the growth of the preschool is owed to Ward, an early board member on First Things First, which started in 2006.
The preschool has been a collaboration of Kiwanis, First Things First and the United Way with the alliance of Head Start.
"This is a dream come true. This is for our future and our future generations," said school board member Diane Foltz. "Dig, man dig!"
Former long-time board member and construction expert Bill Palmer has been brought in to head up the project. The preschool has long been a labor of love for him.
"This is a big accomplishment," he said. "I'm thrilled they let me come back to help build it." In the Beaver Creek tradition, he is also looking for volunteer labor.
Ward said they would like to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the new building by the start of the new school year in August.