A preschool program at Indian Oasis Elementary School in Sells is providing quality early learning to children living on the Tohono O’odham Nation.
In 2013, the Baboquivari Unified School District partnered with First Things First to offer early learning to about 40 4-year-old children through a pre-kindergarten class.
Within 18 months, the program received a Quality rating from FTF’s signature program, Quality First, which partners with child care and preschool providers to improve the quality of early learning across Arizona. Quality First funds quality improvements that research proves help children thrive, such as training for teachers to expand their skills and to help create learning environments that nurture the emotional, social and academic development of every child.
That same year, an additional pre-k classroom opened, this time providing learning to 3-year-old children and increasing the program’s enrollment to 55 kids.
“Of all the students that have entered our preschool program, 98 percent of them are at or above grade level in their current grade,” said Baboquivari District Superintendent Dr. Edna Morris.
Today, there are five pre-k classes on campus, serving 87 children who are 3, 4 and 5 years old.