The Sky is the Limit for Early Enrichment Program

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Many of the activities are designed to help develop fine motor skills.

By Nalani Lopez

The youngest members of the Way of Life Facility (WOLF), the preschoolers in the Early Enrichment Program, are on their way to graduation and their first day of kindergarten in the fall.

The Early Enrichment Program is under the Youth Services Department and serves Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community members and residents between the ages of 4 and 5. Twelve students in the group will be moving to kindergarten in the fall.

“We prepare the children for kindergarten in an encouraging environment through hands-on learning, singing, art projects and lots of laughter,” said Youth Development Specialist Christy Lopez. “We take field trips with the kids to Red Mountain in the early spring and the pumpkin patches in the fall. Family involvement is important, so we invite parents when we can.”

A typical day in the program for the young minds starts with a hearty breakfast. Next, the students focus on name recognition and fine-motor-skill development through pre-kindergarten readiness material. Being the young, playful spirits they are, they head to the indoor WOLF track to get in some morning movement, after which they cool off with some video-instructed yoga. In the afternoon, the students learn O’odham and Piipaash vocabulary words from “Mr. Cody” (Cody Achin) of the Cultural Resources Department.

“The students’ greatest growth from the past year has been their O’odham language development. One of our students, Marciano Losey, knows his colors and numbers in the language,” said Lopez.

The program runs from August through May. With graduation approaching, the EEP teachers will soon say farewell to their current class and hello to a new class in the fall.

“The students say the cutest things every day,” said Lopez. “They love to tell their teachers something kind and ask us if their compliment made our hearts grow bigger. They are the cutest little people and make our day so special.”

The Early Enrichment Program is now accepting applications for the upcoming year. Interested families can contact Youth Services at (480) 362-6390 or EEP Youth Development Specialist Christy Lopez at christen.lopez@srpmic-nsn.gov.

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