Inside the Kleptz Early Learning Center

Kleptz Opens its Doors

Mary McKinney, Life and Opinion Editor

While the community awaits the completion of the new High School, the Kleptz Early Learning Center has met completion. A dedication for the building was held on August 24, and the doors opened for students on September 2.

“Five years of planning went into the building of the school,” said Assistant Principal Noelle Leingang who is also the Pre-school Director. Leingang was formerly the principal of Englewood Hills for three years.

The Kleptz Early Learning Center has a full-sized gymnasium, both indoor and outdoor courtyards, and its own media center and extended learning areas. The extended learning areas are used for hands-on activities and exploration for the students. The school also has a sensory room to help anxious students relax. There are small group rooms that join two classrooms for parent volunteers to come in and help students. Intervention rooms are available for extra help as well.

“The school is very community- and young child-based. It is a green school that even has its own recycling program for the students,” said Kleptz Principal Beth Wyandt, who was formerly the principal of Englewood Elementary for ten years.

Outside, students have a bird prairie and a playground that even has miniature basketball hoops, perfectly sized for students. Students get forty minutes of music, art, physical education, and library a week. Curriculum offers a balanced literary approach for reading, while science and social studies are based around investigation and exploration.

“Last year, while construction was going on, the pre-schoolers did exploration of construction,” said Leingang.

Kleptz is split into a North and a South Neighborhood and offers half-day preschool along with full day kindergarten and first grade. The school is built around the ideas of community, being together, exploration, and investigation. Everything may seem tiny but it is designed to meet the needs of the littlest students.

Because the six elementary schools no longer offer kindergarten and first grade, there are 16 first grade classes, 17 kindergarten classes, and eight pre-school classes. First grade classes average 21 students, kindergarten classes average 23 students, and pre-school classes have no more than 16 students. The grade levels share hallways so that students are able to interact more with one another.

The center has the latest in security technology as well as having a back entrance for buses and staff only, and students are loaded and unloaded from buses by teachers so that students are never unattended.

“The community is very pleased with the final product of the building and parents feel that they have a safe place for their children to go,” said Wyandt.

The building is at around 100,000 square feet and has 825 students enrolled for this school year.  Even though the school sounds gigantic compared to the size of its students, children will feel welcomed because everything down to the last detail has been considered. From the small counters to the small tables they will sit at, this school has been built just for the young learners of our community.