Recently, the Dots and Doodles Preschool has open their doors to a second location, 185 North Commerical Street, in Morgan City.
Hali Whimpey-Larson, the owner and director of the preschool, has been working a preschool inside the Mountain Green Elementary School for the past three years. Both preschools carry the same name, because “I wanted the community to identify that they are the same quality preschool that they have trusted year after year,”explained Hali.
When first searching for a quality preschool over three years ago and was not content with her findings. Hali having children of preschool age she was concerned and decided to start her own preschool. Hali has a bachelor’s degree in education,and her sister in-law, Meggen Smith-Whimpey, help organized the paperwork and bookkeeping. Mountain Green Elementary School agreed to have the preschool located in their building.
The preschool name Hali got it from was actually a part of a name of a scrapbook store, in North Ogden, “Daisy, Dots & Doodles,” she wanted something catchy and easily memorable, that would be fun for a preschool.
She is excited about the new preschool, and said the expansion to Morgan was needed. Hali explained, “For more than 3 years, Dots and Doodles Preschool has worked tirelessly to raise the quality of preschool programs for all children in our community. A major part of our goal is to improve early childhood education through different systems of accreditation for our program. We are committed to meeting national standards of quality. Since 2009, our preschool has set professional standards for early childhood education to help families identify high-quality programs for their young children.”
She emphasized the preschool’s progression, when they first started it was small enrollment of 14 students but it gradually grew to over 50 by the end of the first year. The second year the enrollment of students were 72. Now, in their third year, there are more than 80 students enrolled in the Mountain Green Preschool. Just opened in February, Morgan’s preschool has 10 students.
“Yes, we have limited number of students that can enroll in each of our classes. Its important to register early!” encouraged Hali.
She explained state standards, “there is limit of how large the class size can be. There needs to be a teacher for every six students enrolled.” Having 4 teachers and 4 aides, currently, the Mountain Green Preschool has 24 students in each class.”
To properly keep on top of things and aware of each student’s progress, Hali is the rotating teacher, she is also the fourth teacher, she works with each class, on an average two to three times each week, spending time at both preschools.
As she drew the picture of her future plans for this expansion, it will gradually open the door to further services offered and additional activities for the children. Preschool director elaborated,” I decided on this location because it will give us the ability to provide quality licensed preschool programs, weekend childcare, after school childcare, as well as a place to hold birthday parties, . . . not to mention we have a great big awesome tree inside of our building in Morgan. . . which gives it an outdoor feel.”
Their focus is teaching a “balanced spectrum” of early childhood education. Each program they offer has distinct activities appropriate for the child’s age and developmental level.
The preschool curriculum includes: reading, writing, and math readiness skills. Dots and Doodles Preschool have incorporated an Integrated Arts Program (IAP) that enhances: music, the arts, science, and social studies.
The preschool director commented, “ We focus heavily on interpersonal, social developmental skills, and fine/gross motor skills. For language enrichment, we focus on story telling, nursery rhymes, poetry, and early Spanish development. We incorporate field trips and invite different professionals to visit our classrooms to enhance our Thematic and Academic Units.”
The current schedule for the Preschools :
classes for 3 and 4 year olds are held Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:45-11:00am and 11:45 -2:00pm in Morgan and Mountain Green.
Pre-Kindergarten classes are held for 4 and 5 year olds Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 8:45am-11am and 11:45am-2pm in Mountain Green.
After-school childcare is for ages up to 12 years old, in Mountain Green, Mondays through Fridays until 6pm.
This Fall, Hali hopes to offer the same hours and service to both locations. Currently Dots and Doodles is closed in Summer, because they are licensed as a part-time daycare. The preschool, may change in the future to a year round program, which will require different licensing with the State. For the time being, Hali is gearing up for Summer activities such as Day Camps. Registration will be in May.
Hali also explained, the scholarship program that the preschool offers. She believes all children should have the opportunity to have quality learning. With that purpose in mind, “a work for time” assists the low income in providing the preschool education.”The parents come in and work for me by helping with substitute teaching and cleaning rooms.There are four students currently on this program.”
The day for the preschooler starts with them signing in (on a laminated page that has their name already dotted out so they follow the dots to write), Hali said they soon will be able to write their names without assistance. One of the opening activities is the “eye spy” table where various pictures affixed to a short work table covered with clear plastic.Hali said this activity helps get them to focus and ready for class time.
“Pre” means before,yet in this preschool it can also mean “prepare”. Hali keeps informed of her students progress, as they merge into the education system. She quotes statistics from students in her preschool: 98% of the 3 yr olds can write their names; 90% of the 4 to 5 yr olds can write their first and last name. Kindergarten students tested higher, cognitive and fine motor skills. and already reading at 4 and 5 yrs old. Research has consistently shown 3 and 4 yr olds, that attend a high quality preschool are more successful in kindergarten and beyond.
What makes this preschool a success? the preschool director answered “Along with certified teachers, the National Association Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited curriculum, and small class sizes, we are leading in the standards of excellence for preschools in our community. Dots and Doodles prides itself with its early childhood education programs that has the mark of quality that benefits children with greater readiness for success in school.”
“Dots and Doodles Preschool offers all the quality of an elementary education, while giving the children a head start on developing all of the skills necessary to be successful in the classroom and beyond,” described in an introductory statement from the preschool.
For more information: the preschool website dotsanddoodlespreschool.com email firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiries by mail: Dots and Doodles Preschool PO Box 646 Morgan,Utah 84050 telephone 801-425-1079