Dordt College News

Stepping Stones to join community facility for early childhood education

August 5, 2013

In keeping with Sioux Center’s long tradition of public and private civic and educational cooperation, the Dordt College preschool, Stepping Stones, will be part of a new early childhood facility being planned adjacent to the current Early Childhood Center in Sioux Center.

“We’re excited about this collaborative venture,” said Dr. Timothy Van Soelen, head of the Dordt education department. “A facility specifically designed for early childhood education will be a fantastic addition to the Sioux Center community and will provide a wonderful environment for teachers, children, and for Dordt’s early childhood majors to teach and learn.”

The new facility is part of a bigger building project that will be under consideration in a September 10 City of Sioux Center bond referendum. The referendum would provide for a variety of building improvements, including the new early childhood facility.

Van Soelen says the new building will offer an incredible opportunity, both for facilities and the community’s children.

“The opportunity to build and design a facility with classrooms and playgrounds that allow the curriculum to extend beyond the four walls of the classroom is incredible,” he says. “And the opportunity to participate in the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program will allow all children to attend preschool.” According to research, children who attend preschool tend to get a better start in kindergarten.“

The value of an early childhood education should not be underestimated,” said Dordt College Provost Eric Forseth. “Dordt sees the value of offering younger children a foundational education at ages three and four. Data shows that early childhood education helps close the testing gaps that develop unintentionally among children in different socioeconomic situations.”

The new building will have 10 rooms, providing the capacity to educate all three- and four-year-olds in the community. The participating preschools will receive state universal funding for four-year-old preschool.

“Dordt’s initial goal in operating Stepping Stones was to provide an authentic learning opportunity for our Early Childhood majors and provide a high-quality, faith-based preschool to the community of Sioux Center,” said Van Soelen. “This project will allow us to continue to achieve that goal.”

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