The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools' preschool program will be in one location at Clark Hall, 380 Granville St., beginning next month.

The district offers a preschool program that serves children with disabilities and provides an educational opportunity for typically developing children to serve as social and academic peer models.

"I am thrilled that our preschool classrooms will be merging together in a central location," said Melissa Smith, preschool coordinator.

"This merge allows us to intentionally plan for a learning environment that fosters developmentally appropriate practices for our youngest learners, and to ensure our preschool students and families have a positive and memorable first school experience."

Smith said she appreciates the support and encouragement from preschool families, the district and community as the program transitions to Clark Hall.

The program will be housed in the former location of the Gahanna YMCA's satellite space.

The satellite location didn't generate the revenue and memberships the YMCA had forecast, according to Mallory Sribanditmongkol, school district public information officer.

Sue Wieging, director of special education, said the district is excited to house all of the preschool programming on the first floor of Clark Hall.

The district previously offered preschool programs at Blacklick Elementary School in four modular classrooms and at Chapelfield Elementary School in three classrooms.

"We moved the program to Clark Hall to open up classroom space at the elementary buildings, and because of the number of positive benefits of being housed altogether," Wieging said.

She said one benefit will be consistency in curriculum implementation, as teachers will be able to plan collectively.

In addition, she said, a sense of community would be established for students and staff. Students will be able to set building-level goals, and come together as larger groups for events and celebrations.

Wieging said 13 half-day classes will be offered, with the program providing services to both students with disabilities and peer models.

When at capacity, she said, the district will be able to provide preschool to 208 students at Clark Hall.

Peer models currently are being enrolled.

Parents interested in enrolling their child as a peer model can call 614-269-4780 for more information.

Peers must be 4 years old by Dec. 1. Enrollment is open to children of district residents and district staff members through an application process.

Tuition is $130 a month, with the school year lasting nine months.

Classes are held from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m.

An open house will be held Aug. 18 for families to see the building.

Classes begin Aug. 21.

For more information about the program, visit http://www.gahannaschools.org/District/Preschool_registration.aspx.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla