In response to a lack of child care for Central Oregon families, Seven Peaks School, a private school in southwest Bend, announced Wednesday it would offer preschool classes in 2020.
Seven Peaks hopes to open its preschool to 18 3-year-old students in February 2020, according to Tracy Jenson, the school’s director of admissions.
Paul Harrell, the head of the school, said he hoped Seven Peaks can help alleviate the region’s child care crisis.
“We know there’s an incredible need for preschool care right now,” he said. “We have the expertise educationally, we have the space available, and we want to be great community partners and help meet this need.”
Tuition for the preschool will be $1,000 per month for the full-day program and $800 per month for the half-day program, Jenson said.
Jenson said Seven Peaks leadership noticed families in the region were concerned about finding child care.
“We’ve had many parents ask us for some time,” Jenson said. “We’re going for it.”
In Deschutes County, child care spots are only available for one-third of children, according to Carolyn Eagan, economic development director for the city of Bend. Earlier this month, the Bend Chamber of Commerce hired Megan Norris to help create more options for affordable child care in the region.
Like other students at Seven Peaks, the students will be enrolled in the rigorous International Baccalaureate program. This makes Seven Peaks the only International Baccalaureate preschool in Central Oregon, according to Jenson. The school already offers classes for students from prekindergarten, which is for 4-year-olds, through eighth grade.
Seven Peaks’ preschool will be five days a week, from 8:20 a.m. through 3:20 p.m., with half- or full-day options available for parents. Among the preschool subjects: art, Spanish and music.
Enrolled preschoolers must have turned 3 before Sept. 4, 2019, and be potty-trained, according to Jenson.
If demand is high this winter, Harrell said Seven Peaks would consider opening a second preschool classroom this fall.
Brenda Comini, director of the Regional Early Learning Hub — a group of education and health leaders around Central Oregon focused on early childhood education — said she was happy to hear that more child care spots would become available in the region.
“We really look forward to increasing the pool of choices for parents,” she said. “Any effort to expand is good.”
Those interested in applying to the preschool can call Seven Peaks at 541-382-7755.
— Reporter: 541-617-7854, email@example.com