PCSD stands out as a pioneer, offering the first universal preschool in Utah with affordable preschool access to all since 2011 thanks to PCEF donors, a dedicated school board, preschool educators, and partners, including the incredible $250,000 commitment from Park City Mountain Resort through Vail Resorts Epic Promise, as well as ongoing support from the Westgate Foundation.
The primary objective of preschool is to prepare children to be ready for both academic and social-emotional success. Statistics continually have proven, the earlier kids are in the classroom the better prepared they will be when the time comes for academics – they’ll be better prepared to learn and will be less likely to fall behind.
Yoni Nava is the parent of two boys, ages 2 and 4, and has been a valued employee of the Park City School District for the past six years. As he and his family began to navigate childcare and preschool options for their young sons, it proved to be challenging to find a local program with available space that was also affordable. Nava told us, “My oldest son started at Holy Cross Ministries last year when he was 3 years old. When I learned about the PCSD’s Preschool Program, and the access and
affordability, we jumped on the opportunity to enroll him for the current school year as a 4 year old.
He is learning reading, writing, and math, and essential social skills to make sure he’s ready for kindergarten. Knowing monthly costs up front is really helpful for budgeting and managing monthly expenses. A babysitter, for example, might cost double the amount of preschool and he wouldn’t benefit from the same positive learning environment he’s experiencing now. As a working parent, having this affordable and great preschool opportunity for my son is invaluable and brings my family great peace of mind.”
“I grew up in Park City and started at McPolin Elementary School, but not as a preschooler since this program wasn’t available then,” continues Nava, “I finished elementary at Parley’s Park, and years later I now work here. My 4 year old is enrolled in preschool and it’s been a great experience. I had a
language barrier when I was younger, and it made things – like making friends and learning – much more difficult. My son doesn't have this same barrier, which has helped him so much. We mostly speak English at home, and my son is so much more confident to make friends, interact, and communicate at school, and looks forward to preschool every day.”
“One of the things I like most about the PCSD Preschool Program is the daily routine kids have,” says Nava, observing the way his son comes home from school and may put a toy away on his own, or help clean up without being asked. He knows this routine and structure has been modeled at school. Notably, these transferable skills have been welcome at home, and even passed along to his little brother.
“It feels good to know that he’s so happy going to school and making positive connections,” says Nava. “On Fridays he really misses school, since preschool currently follows a four-day-schedule. He gets a little sad about not seeing his friends that day.” Starting in the fall, the PCSD Preschool Program offered for 4 year olds will expand and mirror that of Kindergarten as a five-day-program.
Next school year, PCSD will add 70 seats for 4-year-olds, a monumental step addressing the school board's long-term goal to be the affordable and effective program available to every 4 year old in our district who wants to attend. To date, 2,000 preschoolers have attended preschool within PCSD, and next year will have the capacity to accommodate 230 3 and 4-year-old students, adding four classrooms.
2024/2025 PCSD Preschool Expansion:
• Extended days for 4 Year Olds (5 days/week, matching kindergarten schedule) offering Afterschool care from 3-6pm.
• Adding a total of 4 new classes – two each at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School and McPolin Elementary School – which expands the program by 70 students.
• Cost: Tuition will be $780/month for academic day + $400/month after school. Tuition assistance (based on free and reduced lunch criteria): $125/month for academic day + $65/month for Afterschool.
• Registration: Priority registration for the 2024/2025 school year starts January 15, including current 3-year-olds enrolled in Preschool program, PCSD staff, and families of need (working with local partners and PCSD to identify families of need). General registration for everyone else starts in early February.