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About Us

Director of Early Childhood: Jennifer Fox
Dean of Students: Lacy Althoff
Current Enrollment: 130

East Side Preschool is home to 130 preschool aged students. East Side has a half day program with different sessions in the morning and the afternoon. Our preschool program is half day Monday – Friday and closely follows the Unit 40 calendar. Morning classes take place from 8:15-10:50am, while afternoon classes are 12:10-2:50pm. A daily snack is provided in each class, but breakfast and lunch are not served. In addition, transportation is available through the Unit 40 transportation system.


There are two special education classrooms at East Side that serve students who have developmental delays or special education needs that are better served in a smaller class size with additional support. These classrooms have a maximum of ten students who are taught by a teacher with support from one to two paraprofessionals.


In addition, there are three general education classrooms that are funded through the Preschool for All Grant. These classrooms have a maximum of 20 students and are taught by a teacher with support from a paraprofessional. The Preschool for All Grant was a new grant that we acquired in January of 2023. Therefore, this year has been the first full year of implementation using the Preschool for All mandates and curriculum. As a result of the grant, in May of 2023, our three PFA classrooms received the white glove treatment, meaning they were outfitted completely with new furniture, toys, teaching tools, and curricula. The Preschool for All classrooms utilize a plethora of instructional strategies and curricular pieces to meet the needs of all students in a play based, developmentally appropriate environment. Those pieces include Michael Heggerty phonemic awareness program, ECERS classroom structure, Second Step SEL curriculum, Creative Curriculum, Early Learning Systems Assessment system, and Fundations for literacy instruction. The overhaul of our preschool classrooms has increased our resources and offerings for our young learners.


East Side Preschool provides students with additional support according to their individual needs. Our classroom teachers are all certified not only with an early childhood degree, but they all have their special education certification as well. We also have two magnificent speech teachers on site who provide both push in and pull out speech services for our students. Other services include counseling, social work, hearing services, vision support, and physical and occupational therapy.  In addition, East Side Preschool serves community walk-in speech needs. Nine students are currently being served as community speech students.


The school team extends their services to many in the community through the screening process. The teaching staff is highly involved in the screening process, providing developmental screenings for students aged birth to five. Screenings are held on a monthly basis throughout the school year to all children in the community. The team provides feedback to parents regarding their children’s development and helps them to connect with resources to meet their children’s needs. Thus, the teaching team supports not only the 130 students enrolled at East Side but many others within the community.


East Side works closely with many entities in Effingham to support our young learners and families. They work with Head Start, Early Intervention, medical professionals, outside therapists, childcare centers, the library, and Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education. They create many opportunities to extend learning beyond the classroom. They have guest speakers, field trips, Family Nights, monthly library visits, and special activities that are embedded into their schedules.


The heartbeat of every school is determined by the team within the school, and the preschool team at East Side Preschool is second to none. The teachers, paraprofessionals, custodian, secretary, nurse, itinerants, and administration are truly a family. They are flexible, dedicated, and passionate about serving students and supporting each other. They make an incredible difference in the lives of our students and set them on the path to success in kindergarten and beyond. We are blessed to be able to make a difference in many young lives and appreciate the families who allow us to work with their youngsters!


Enrollment Requirements


In order to be considered for enrollment in the program, please call East Side Preschool at 217-540-1380. Parents should request a screening, complete the online registration requirements, and provide the necessary documentation required by the State of Illinois. The State of Illinois requires every child entering pre-school to meet the following requirements:

  • physical exam
  • lead assessment by his/her doctor
  • up-to-date immunizations
  • copy of the child’s birth certificate
This Childcare Scholarship can help provide support to Effingham County residents who need financial assistance and do not qualify for CCAP.
If your employment opportunities are limited due to childcare costs, then the Effingham County Childcare Scholarship Program could be the support you need. Click here to learn more: https://www.groweffinghamcountyil.com/clientuploads/Effingham_County_Childcare_Scholarship_Application-7.1.23_Updated_CCAP.pdf