Tucson community members
United States of America

TUSD recently announced plans to close Rogers and Ochoa Elementary schools in as a cost-saving measure to narrow the projected budget deficit of $15 million. Two of the most exemplary preschool sites in our professional community, Rogers and Ochoa PACE Preschool programs, are located at these schools.

It is appalling that TUSD is considering the closures of these programs. Both programs are inspired by the philosophy of Reggio Emelia, a world-renowned approach to education. This innovative approach is hailed by many early educators as the cutting-edge in early education. Tucson is known across the nation for our support system in helping the early education community incorporate aspects of this philosophy into our programs.

The PACE classrooms and teachers at Rogers and Ochoa serve as sources of inspiration for members of our professional community who wish to learn more about Reggio and how to incorporate it into our work with young children.

At the heart of the Reggio philosophy are children, community, relationships and environment. If these programs were to close, all of these would be adversely affected. The surrounding communities would suffer the loss of an important resource- a public neighborhood school which provides physical, social, and emotional nourishment and safety for the children and families which it serves.

The relationships cultivated among the families, teachers, and children would be shattered as a result of the necessary relocation of the PACE classrooms. The beautiful learning environments that have been so pain-stakingly designed by all who live and work in them will become empty shells.

Finally, the professional community would suffer the loss of model preschool programs which have become beacons of hope for early childhood educators throughout Arizona.

As early childhood professionals, we, the undersigned members of the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (SAzAEYC) strongly oppose the closure of Rogers and Ochoa public schools and their preschool classrooms.

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The Keep exemplary preschool classrooms open petition to Tucson community members was written by Monica Brinkerhoff and is in the category Education at GoPetition.