Right here in Uptown, a unique preschool program celebrates our community’s diversity by bringing children together across language and cultural barriers. Joyce Preschool, located in the Joyce Church building at 1219 West 31st Street, prepares children for elementary school – in English and Spanish.
Joyce Preschool is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide children from diverse ethnic, linguistic and economic backgrounds with developmentally and culturally appropriate preparation for success in school and lifelong learning. The preschool recently earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals.
“We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC and to be recognized for our outstanding staff and program,” said Laura Johansson, Executive Director of Joyce Preschool. “NAEYC Accreditation lets families in our community know that children at Joyce are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible.”
Unlike most language immersion programs, where content and instruction take place primarily in one language, Joyce has developed a balanced model of dual-language immersion. Instruction takes place in both languages by teachers who are bilingual but primarily use their native language in the classroom. The student body consists of approximately one-third native English-speakers, one-third native Spanish-speakers and one-third bilingual students. This allows children to learn from one another as well as from their teachers.
Emphasizing literacy and family involvement in education, Joyce also offers parent-child classes and workshops for Latino parents on topics ranging from nutrition to post-secondary education.
To earn accreditation, Joyce went through an extensive three-year process measuring the program against 10 NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards and more than 400 related Accreditation Criteria. The program then received accreditation after a site visit by NAEYC assessors.
Joyce Preschool exceeded NAEYC Program Standards, receiving scores of 100+% in the areas of Quality of Teachers, Family Relationships, Community Relationships, and Leadership and Management. These high scores reflect years of collaborative work by many in the community.
For more information about Joyce Preschool, visit http://www.joycepreschool.org/ or call the school at 612.823.2447.
For more information about NAEYC Accreditation, visit http://www.naeyc.org/academy/.
Laura Tompkins is a member of the Board of Directors of Joyce Preschool and lives in Bancroft neighborhood.