Wyoming is a desert. Ecologically, our state is home to arid and high-altitude deserts, boasting biomes of sage and sand dunes that drastically clash with our alpine mountain regions. You ask, of course, what this has to do with education in the Equality State.

Quite simply, Wyoming is a desert in more than just ecological terms. Our state is also a childcare desert, according to the Center for American Progress. Moreover, our state suffers from a startling lack of preschool programs - and those available to Wyomingites cost a pretty penny. Wyoming has no state-funded preschool program and is cited by the National Institute for Early Education Research as having "no current pre-K legislation indicating pre-K as a part of educational pathways in Wyoming." The White House reports "about 38% of the 3- and 4-year-olds in Wyoming have access to publicly-funded preschool, and it costs about $8,600 per year for those who can't access a publicly-funded program."

In Laramie County, the lack of public preschools is a glaring issue. LCSD1 does offer a free preschool option to children in Title I areas of the district, but spots are limited, and students are pulled from a lottery to obtain their spot. Most preschool and pre-Kindergarten programs in the LCSD1 area double as childcare for the ages of 1 and 5 and charge tuition. Pre-K programs can vary on the curriculum - Wyoming has no required standards for pre-K programs in the state. However, the state does have recommended standards for pre-K curriculum in its Wyoming Early Learning Standards.

LCSD1 is working to address the disparity by introducing its tuition-based preschool option following the Wyoming Department of Education's Early Learning Standards.

LCSD1 Launches Tuition-Based Preschools

Laramie County School District 1 announced yesterday, July 17, the launch of its tuition-based Pre-K program. The new program begins at Deming Elementary in the Fall of 2023.

Students registered for the new Pre-K program receive education from a certified teacher and para-educator following a curriculum focusing on the following:

  • Structured Literacy, including FUNdations
  • Structured Math including number sense
  • Play-based Science, Social Studies, & Writing

With students receiving access to music and the arts as well. Like most pre-K options in LCSD1, the Deming program charges tuition of $700 a month - though the LCSD1 option offers a sliding-fee scale.

The new tuition-based program is in addition to the existing Title I options in LCSD1 and bolsters the available slots for pre-K students in the district. Parents interested in the program can find more information on the LCSD1 website or by clicking here.

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