Early Childhood Program

  • Decrease Text Size
  • Increase Text Size

The Olympia School District offers a variety of Early Childhood programs. Educational and family support services are available to children from infancy to kindergarten age, through several of our elementary schools and in cooperation with other community early learning providers.

Infant Toddler Program

Our Infant-Toddler program is located at OSD North Street Center and provides services to children with developmental delays between birth and age 3, with an emphasis on supporting their families. Services and supports are available to all families of eligible students who reside within the district's boundaries. A combination of home visits, Toddler Groups, therapy appointments, and parenting education programs are individually designed for each young child and family. We provide Family Resources Coordination and offer physical and occupational therapy services through a contract with Providence St. Peter Hospital Therapy Services. Within 90 days of the child's third birthday, he/she is evaluated to determine ongoing eligibility for special education support through the preschool program.

For additional information or to make a referral, please contact our Early Childhood Department at 360-596-7539 or at earlylearning@osd.wednet.edu.

Preschool Programs

Structure: We have preschools located at Madison, McKenny, Garfield, McLane, Boston Harbor, and Hansen elementary schools (eight classrooms). In seven of our classrooms, the teachers have two sessions, each with about 18 students per session, and at least three adults (one teacher and two para-educators). Both students with disabilities and non-disabled peers attend our preschool programs.  Preschool classes are held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for 2.5 hours (AM and PM sessions). There is no preschool on Wednesdays or other early release days. Wednesdays are reserved for team collaboration, home visits and curriculum planning. We have a full-day preschool classroom at Boston Harbor, designed to support students who require a highly structured program and more intensive services. Typically developing peers join that program for afternoon session only. The full-day intensive class uses the STAR program, an ABA (applied behavior analysis) approach using Discrete Trial Training, Pivotal Response Training, and Functional Routines. Our preschools use the Tools of the Mind curriculum, which emphasizes the development of self-regulation through pretend play. The curriculum provides opportunities for early literacy embedded in playful activities.

Children with Special Needs:

Students with developmental concerns can be referred at any time for evaluation, by family or community members. Developmental evaluations address skills in cognition, communication, motor, social and adaptive skills, compared to students of the same age. Evaluations are conducted by a multi-disciplinary team. Eligibility is based on federal and state regulations. Students who qualify for specially designed instruction may receive support from special education preschool teachers, speech/language therapists, occupational/physical therapists, and vision specialists based on individual needs. Students eligible for and in need of specially designed instruction will have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) describing the student's goals, supports and services. There is no tuition for preschool for students with special needs, and transportation is provided within school district boundaries. To refer a child due to developmental concerns, call 360-596-7539 or email earlylearning@osd.wednet.edu.


We offer free districtwide developmental screenings on an on-going basis throughout the school year. The screenings are for children referred with developmental concerns. Developmental screenings help us to determine which areas may be in need of further assessment. Families with children on the referral list are called to schedule and confirm screening and/or assessment appointments.

Transfer Students

If you are moving to the Olympia School District and have a preschool child with an IEP, we will meet with you to review your child's evaluation and IEP to determine appropriate placement. Please contact Tom Parnell at 360-596-7575 (tparnell@osdwednet.edu) to determine the "next steps" in transferring your child's records to our district. Welcome to the Olympia School District!

Non-disabled Peers

Peers must be 3 years old prior to Sept. 1. Priority for peers goes to students living in each school's attendance area. Parents need to provide transportation for typically developing students. We do charge tuition for most peers: $210/mo or $75/mo for low-income families, for 10 months. Parents paying tuition will sign an Agreement with the District. Low-income families or families whose students fall in the "at-risk" category, based on developmental screening, may be eligible through Title 1 resources, and would not pay tuition.

Waiting List

We maintain a "waiting list" of typically developing preschoolers who are interested in preschool for the 2017-18 school year. If you are interested in a spot for this year or next, we will place your child's name and contact information on our list. Call the Office of Student Support: 360-596-7539 or earlylearning@osd.wednet.edu and ask to have your child added to the waiting list for peer placement in preschool.

Out of District families

At this time we are not able to offer preschool placement to children who live outside the Olympia School District boundaries.


Preschool Schedule Times

Preschool start times vary by school, matching the start times for the K-5 students.

Early Release Times

During an early release day for K-5 students, there are no AM or PM preschool classes.

Transition To Kindergarten

Students who will turn 5 prior to Sept. 1 are eligible for kindergarten. Most students transitioning from preschool programs to kindergarten will register and enroll in their neighborhood school. Neighborhood school is determined by the address at which the child sleeps/resides most nights of the week.

Kindergarten students with special education needs receive specially designed instruction and other services as part of their instructional day. Services are provided based on each child's IEP (Individualized Education Program), which is developed by the parents and school team.

Some kindergartners may require a more specialized program, as determined individually by each student's IEP team. For students who require a more specialized program as kindergartners, parents will collaborate with school team members to determine the appropriate program.

Early Entrance to Kindergarten

Some children whose birthdays fall after September 1 may have already acquired the skills to participate successfully in kindergarten. Olympia School District has developed policy and procedures for consideration of Early Entrance to Kindergarten. To be considered for Early Entrance, a student's birthday must fall between September 1 and October 31 of the current school year. Students with later birthdates will NOT be considered. All early entrance applicants must successfully complete the established screening process. Applications will not be considered after the first full week of school each fall.

2017-18 Early Entrance to Kindergarten Guidelines

For additional information regarding Early Childhood Programs or to make a referral, call Early Learning at 360-596-7539 or email earlylearning@osd.wednet.edu.

Other Helpful Links: