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The Community Builds a Playground for Preschoolers

December 14, 2011

Students who attend the Project Excel Preschool in Monticello now have an added activity and adventure to fill their school day – a brand new outdoor playground. Project Excel

The $16,000 colorful equipment includes multiple slides, tunnels, ladders and climbing areas. It took nine years and the generosity of numerous local families and businesses to raise the money needed to purchase and construct the play unit.

“We never could have funded this project without the immense support from our community,” said Cathy Stawarz, the director of Project Excel. “The children love it!”

If all goes as planned, the preschool hopes to raise enough money to add a couple of swing sets by next year.
UPK Educational Services

Project Excel Preschool is a collaboration between the Monticello Central School District and Easter Seals. They provide educational services for 100 universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) students. Children who are 4-years-old and live in the Monticello district are eligible to attend the school for free. They also may receive free bus transportation from their hometowns to the preschool, which is located at 22 St. John Street in Monticello. In addition to UPK, Project Excel serves special needs preschoolers ages 3-5 from throughout Sullivan County.

Nurturing Young MindsProject Excel

Project Excel presently has 13 certified teachers and a variety of teaching assistants and therapists on staff. They describe their programs as having a creative curriculum that emphasizes kindergarten readiness, socialization, language stimulation, math, reading and a focus on building fine and gross motor skills. According to Ms. Stawarz, the colorful classrooms are “nurturing and open to endless possibilities for student exploration, self-expression and hands-on learning.”

Playground Expansion

For more information or to make a donation to help with the playground expansion, please call Project Excel, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at 845-794-4020.

Special Thanks to the Community

Special thanks to Home Depot, Bagel Bakery, Catskill Shopper, Wyde Lumber, Package Pavement, ShopRite, Stewart’s Shops, Walmart and all the local parents and community members who generously donated supplies, money, labor, resources, ideas and their time to make the playground project a reality.

Photos: From left, Project Excel Director Cathy Stawarz, childcare assistant Lori Fleischman, teacher Diana DeVenuto and Marion Williams, the classroom grandma, with their UPK class.

Project Excel teacher Dianne Martinez with her students Diego, McKayla, Preston, Dominick and Adrienne at the preschool’s new outdoor playground.