Another school year is drawing to a close and inevitably, thoughts of the fall linger in the backs of most parents’ minds. For parents of preschool age children in Knoxville, there are options available.
Religious-based preschool is available at Trinity Lutheran, First United Methodist and, starting in the fall, Celebrate Community Church. Though the preschool is based at the church, these schools still meet educational demands and requirements from the State of Iowa. Stepping Stones Early Learning Center offers parents the same services, without any religious affiliation.
Trinity Lutheran is licensed for up to 30 children, between the ages of 3-5. Like all preschools, the Iowa Department of Human Services inspects it annually to ensure that it complies with all of the State’s requirements. When the teacher left the preschool last year, Trinity Lutheran was closed for the remainder of the year. At least six months’ notice must be given to the State before a new teacher takes over.
“We kind of had to rush everything,” Luanne Leavengood with Trinity Lutheran said. She added that it can be a challenge, as requirements constantly change.
“Preschools used to be a lot less regulated,” Leavengood said. Some of the regulations she agrees with, including inspections by the Fire Marshal and tests for radon. Other requirements, such as having a licensed teacher, can be difficult. The preschool is only open part-time, and someone with that level of education, willing to work for such compensation, is hard to find.
“There’s only so much people can pay,” Leavengood said.
Money the preschool receives is tied to a preschool’s quality, based on the Quality Rating System. All of Knoxville’s preschools, and others in Marion County, receive money from Early Childhood Iowa, formerly known as Empowerment. The name was recently changed. As of July 1, Marion County Early Childhood Iowa will merge with Jasper and Poweshiek. To receive funding, a preschool must actively pursue the money and a quality rating.