I am the Manager, director,coordinator and teacher of the Elk Center Day shelter (or something like that.) Its a mouthful to say. But its even more of a challenge to run. Trust me. I’ve been doing it for 6 months now.
The Elk was never meant to be a preschool/childcare center. It just sort of happened,because I can’t shut my mouth and let things go. See,
It was a shelter and Positive living community building. The children there are only supposed to be there for 3 or 4 weeks between housing placements. But here’s the thing. With the bad economy and lack of family shelters families are getting stuck for years! That means that children most at risk are not necessarily able to go to preschool.So these children were spending hours unattended in the children’s day room. The only rule is that there has to be one adult in the room. 1! And there are currently 287 children under 12 in the building. Small problem!
So 4 of us got the idea to try and organize the chaos into a real intermediate preschool/childcare/after school program. All 4 of us do have some training and (some) school credits in the Early Education field, and I have a credential for high school math and science.
Right now we only have two teachers and a lot of willing parent volunteers. But it is becoming a valid school. We may not have the funding, or the respect or the materials of the average preschool and our students may face more than the usual challenges but we These children will get as much of a chance as any other child in California.
By the way, In the Nez Perce culture, the Elk is endurance,perseverance and inner strength,everything we wish for our school.Like the little engine that could, we are the little shelter preschool that can!!