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Early Learning Academy available for children

The Tulalip Tribes' preschool and day care center serves as an important asset for local families


Christopher Andersson

The Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy in Tulalip.

The Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy has been open for almost a year and has served as a important local asset for families with young children.

The academy, which opened last summer, brings together most of the Tulalip Tribes' preschool programs, other early education programs, day care services and family support services.

"We all live together now and provide all of the services here," said Sheryl Fryberg, director of the academy.

Fryberg said it was more difficult for families when the programs were scattered around Tulalip.

"It has been a tremendous asset to the community because families were dropping their children off here and then at another place somewhere else if they had different age groups," she said. "Now families just have one stop."

It's especially a help to those who have more than one child under five-years-old.

"We have some families that have two or three kids, or sometimes four, in the academy, so it really saves time for the families," said Fryberg.

The academy's services are now year-round and they accept enrollment at any time, although there may be a waiting list.

The preschool services are provided at no cost, however the before and after care programs must be paid for.

Grant funds are available for qualifying low-income families for the day care programs as well though, said Fryberg.

The academy accepts non-Native American children as well.

"We're not just a native program, we accept other kids through our grant programs," said Fryberg.

The academy helps children in preparing for kindergarten and the routine of school.

"We're laying a solid foundation for when they start the educational process," said Fryberg.

"We have a lot of children in our community that need extra services, so by providing school here from birth to 5 [years old] we're giving them a little bit of a head start when they hit the K-12 system," she said.

The programs also provide a stable environment that kids can return to each year for their first years of life.

"They have a safe environment to be in all year," said Fryberg.

The early learning academy also includes classes about the Lushootseed language and Lushootseed songs are sung as well.

"This is a Tulalip Tribal community school so we do some focus on the culture," said Fryberg. "It really is about bringing our language and culture back to families."

Fryberg said that the public response has been positive to the academy so far, and they have had great turnouts to their family events. They recently held a "Moms and Muffins" event for Mother's Day and hold other seasonal events throughout the year as well.

For more information about enrollment and whether you are eligible for the academy, parents can talk to the enrollment specialists at the academy's office at 360-716-4250.


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