Early Childhood Education
The Northeast Washington Early Childhood Program helps children and families prepare for kindergarten and beyond. Our Head Start,
Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP, pronounced e—cap) and Access to Baby & Childhood Dentistry programs help to meet our Mission.
Our preschool classrooms support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from age 3 to age 5. We encourage the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teachers. Staff build relationships with families that support positive parent-child relationships, family well-being, and connections to peers and community. Program services are responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.
Enrollment is at no cost to a family and includes preschool education, health services coordination, and family support services. Children who attend, learn to manage their feelings, get along with others and follow classroom procedures. They build the beginning skills for reading, math and science. The program works closely with parents to support their children’s health and education and to meet family goals.
Head Start is federally funded, and has been operating continuously in our communities since its inception in 1965. Priority for enrollment is given to low-income, homeless and foster children ages 3 to 5 (not kindergarten eligible). A limited number of slots are available for over-income families as well. 10% of slots are reserved for children with diagnosed disabilities documented through Individualized Education Plans (IEP).
ECEAP is funded by Washington state Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) and is no cost to enrolled families. It serves three-and four-year-olds from low income families, or with developmental or environmental risk factors that could interfere with school success.
Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) was launched in Spokane in the mid-1990’s. The program connects Apple Health (Medicaid) insured children under age 6 with specially
trained dentists. Cavities are painful and interfere with a child’s ability to focus and learn in school, eat, speak and even play. Yet, cavities are almost entirely preventable. Children need their first check-up by their first birthday. Baby teeth can start coming in as early as six months.