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SRRC will host open house Aug. 13 to meet new preschool director

Jennifer Hohenbery, pre-school coordinator at SRRC.
Jennifer Hohenbery, pre-school coordinator at SRRC.

OTTAWA — The Starved Rock Regional Center (SRRC) for Therapy and Child Development is offering a preschool program two, three or five days a week.

The public is invited to an open house from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at 1013 Adams St. in Ottawa to meet Jennifer Hohenbery, preschool coordinator at SRRC.

After earning a degree in early childhood education from Illinois State University in 2008, Hohenbery taught pre-K with at-risk students for 10 years in two different districts, one with a high English as a second language (ESL) population. She’s continued her education and in 2017 received certification in ESL.

“My past teaching experience has taught me how to work with children of varying abilities and behaviors. It has also taught me a lot about best practices, age-appropriate expectations, and how to help students grow socially and academically,” Hohenbery said in a press release. “I love my students to be hands on and get messy. I also am a huge fan of literature and creating entire classroom students based on books. Every area of my classroom also includes a literacy component. I teach using hands-on methods and do not rely on worksheets as a method of learning. I believe students learn best through play when given the right materials, guidance, and questions to enhance their experiences.”

Hohenbery is excited to be a part of the SRRC team and to create an amazing Pre-K program for her students. SRRC is excited to have her join their team, and they know she’ll be an amazing fit for the center.

She currently lives in Ottawa with her husband and son.

“We really enjoy this town and all that it has to offer, and I am truly excited to start work in a community I love,” Hohenbery said.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the first-ever statewide snapshot of kindergarten readiness in Illinois on Aug. 13, 2018. The Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) put critical information about early development into the hands of policymakers, schools and communities.

The findings reinforced the importance of high-quality early learning experiences for all children to get a strong start. Those with formal preschool, head start, and kindergarten prep exposure performed stronger than their peers who attended in-home care, or care by family members.

Kindergarten is a critical milestone in a child’s long-term educational trajectory. Research shows children with higher levels of readiness at age five are generally more successful in grade school, are less likely to drop out of high school, and even earn more as adults.

Research has explored and described the conditions children need to thrive, such as opportunities for imaginative play, being read to, and describing the world around them.

SRRC strives to ensure preschoolers hit their pre-K markers and beyond. Many students go to kindergarten knowing how to count to 100, knowing simple sight words, and being able to solve simple math problems.

Classes emphasize problem solving, reading fundamentals, life skills, social and emotional development, music and art, dramatic play, and children’s literature.

SRRC offers full and part-time morning preschool. Space is limited, so reservations are required. Children will receive a morning snack. ESL opportunities are also available.

For more information, call Tara Ohlendorf at 815-434-0857.

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