Preschool program marks 74 years

DOWNEY – Downey Adult School’s Parent and Child Participation Program had its annual open house and scholastic book fair May 21, marking the grand opening of its new classroom library. The Parent and Child Participation Program has been in practice since Downey Adult School opened in 1940, providing parent and child education through hands-on learning for 74 years.

Parents attend, observe and interact with their child in a pre-school setting where parents are required to stay for the entire session and work alongside their child. It is a safe, structured, yet flexible environment imparting age-appropriate activities to stimulate cognitive, social and emotional development of a child ranging from toddler to pre-Kindergarten age.  Children are encouraged to explore their world through the medium of play, with an emphasis on discovery through in-depth, first-hand experiences.

Continuously changing, to stay aligned to the common core standards this program includes art, science, math, outdoor activities, reading, story time, music and movement, and circle time. The final objective is to reinforce parental education and give children every tool necessary to educate and prepare him/her for entering into Kindergarten with confidence.

Parents are educated through discussion and exercise while their children are learning in the classroom. By providing parents time to share concerns, discuss topics on child development and be part of a support group, they find a sense of community and comfort in one another. Teachers Darlene Gomez-Correa and Diane Chisum dedicate themselves to developing new programs and educational tools to keep their students, both parent and child, enlightened and engaged each day.

Broken up into three different age groups; the two-year-olds meet once a week and are accompanied by parents to each class, the three-year-olds meet twice a week, one class with parents and the other without. These classes are taught in adjacent rooms by Mrs. Gomez-Correa, who previously taught for Los Angeles Unified School District for 12 years.  The four-year-old students are instructed by Mrs. Chisum, who has been an educator for 19 years. These four-year old students meet three times a week, two unaccompanied by parent(s) to develop a sociability and reassurance on their own and the third with parent(s).

“My son loves it here,” said a parent of a four-year-old student who asked not to be identified. “Separation is always hard, but these classes have definitely helped with the transition stages of being left at school, both for him and for me. They have also helped him feel comfortable in groups, I know he won’t be shy come the first day of kindergarten.”

Also assisting in the classrooms is retired teacher Claudia Fox, who was the instructor of this program from 1976 to 2005. Implementing classroom field trips to broaden the education of the students and bringing fathers into the program, were only a few of the milestone decision Mrs. Fox instituted.  With the grand opening of classroom library and the great strides being taken to make this program unlike any other, parents travel from other cities and districts to enroll.

“We’ve had parents from all over, one from Santa Monica and Ontario even that would make the drive each day,” said Mrs. Gomez-Correa.

For more information about the Mommy/Daddy & Me Preschool Program and how to enroll, visit the DAS website at or email



Published: June 5, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 08