Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Cheney and Medical Lake schools partner with West Plains ECEAP

Hallett and Windsor to offer free preschool services


Al Stover

Hallett Elementary School will have a six-hour program for preschool that is modeled after their school hours.

Parents living in the West Plains area and looking for options for preschool in the fall will have more opportunities available to them.

The West Plains' Early Child Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) has partnered with Cheney and Medical Lake school districts to open more slots for preschools at Windsor Elementary, 5504 W. Hallett Road, Spokane, and Hallett Elementary, 524 S. Hallett St., Medical Lake starting in October.

The West Plains ECEAP is a state-funded program through the YWCA that serves 3- and 4-year-old children from low-income families and helps prepare these children for kindergarten. The program also serves children with developmental or environmental risk factors that could interfere with their preparation for school.

The Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS) holds the contract for the ECEAP and subcontracts to the YWCA. Patty Wheeler, YWCA of Spokane director of programs, said CCS saw a need for more ECEAP resources in the West Plains area.

"When the opportunity for the program to expand came, they jumped at the chance," Wheeler said. "When we jumped, the communities also jumped. Medical Lake and Cheney came out and said 'we have a need.' The communities are excited for this."

Each location will provide two certified teachers, family service coordinators, education, health, nutrition and social services. The preschool also offers developmental and health services and gives opportunities for parents to be involved.

Hallett Elementary will have a six-hour program modeled off of their school hours. There will also be transportation available for families that qualify.

Windsor Elementary will have an extended session, which will run from the morning to the afternoon.

The West Plains ECEAP preschool in Airway Heights, 13120 W. 13th St., will continue to offer their half-day program.

ECEAP representative Shannon Griffiths said the expansion allows ECEAP staff more flexibility in serving families.

"Before the expansion, the half-day program (at Airway Heights) was only the option for families," Griffith said.

Griffiths explained that families could go to locations that can suit them best.

"If a family lives in Airway Heights and one of the parents works in Medical Lake, they can bring their children to the Hallett location," Griffith said.

Cheney School District Superintendent Dr. Deb Clemens said the expansion is great news for families that qualify.

Clemens said Windsor Elementary will still offer their own preschool program and that principal Vince Songaylo is already giving information to families about the ECEAP services.

Wheeler said there might be more expansion in the West Plains, as well as expansion in the tribal community and in Spokane Valley.

Families interested in applying for ECEAP services can contact Griffith at (509) 244-4833.

Al Stover can be reached at

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