What’s the Hurry?

Educator Rae Pica debunked the notion that—academically and athletically—earlier is better for children.
Regarding academics Pica writes, “Kindergarten, according to a study from the University of Virginia, has become ‘the new first grade.’ And, based on my observations, preschool has clearly become the new kindergarten. All of this is happening despite the abundance of research demonstrating that children enrolled in play-oriented preschools don’t have a disadvantage over those who are enrolled in preschools focusing on early academics. Studies, in fact, have shown that there were neither short-term nor long-term advantages of early academics versus play and that there were no distinguishable differences by first grade. Additionally, fourth graders who had attended play-oriented preschools in which children often initiated their own activities had better academic performance than those who had attended academics-driven preschools.”

Kindergarten Class of 2016 – Video & Photos

Kindergarten Art Walk

A big thanks to Christine and Maureen from the REACH OUT AND READ COLORAD team,, for helping us sort and count donations collected from our 4th annual First Friday Art Walk. With the help of the kindergarten class, we counted 728 books to be distributed to hundreds of distribution points including Denver Health Montebello, Denver Health School-Based Clinics, Stout Street Health Clinic, Inner City Health, Clinica Colorado, Rocky Mt. Youth Clinics, Salud in Commerce City, etc.
Miss Colorado World 2015, Angelica Cromwell, accompanied Christin and Maureen, reading books to the Kindergarten and also helping with counting and sorting.
Congratulations once again to Iliff Preschool’s outstanding community of parents, students, staff, and friends. Your efforts and donations will help Colorado’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors who prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

We Love Iliff Kindergarten


Our staff which promises that learning is fun and fun is never ending.
A small class size and more time with their teacher.
The DC7 airplane magically converted into a classroom just for them, with plenty of space and materials to expand their love of learning.
Play-based, hand on experiences in reading, writing, and communication, mathematics, social studies, drama, movement, visual arts, and music.
Specials in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), art appreciation, music around the globe, and Spanish taught weekly by visiting teachers.
Their ability to move their indoor curriculum outside at any time of the day (STEM experiences adapt themselves well to the outside).
The opportunity to let off steam and recharge their batteries with their buddies on their very own kindergarten playground designed just for them!
The special events and field trips during fall, spring, and winter breaks with their friends from their class.


That your child attends class in a very unique and creative environment.
Play-based kindergarten curriculum that is child directed and hands on and aligns with national and state standards.
Miss Karen who brings the opportunity for your child to participate in professional instruction in dance to our center.
Knowing play is never sacrificed for more instructional time or standardized testing found in traditional kindergarten classrooms.
Individual attention given to your child all day due to a small classroom size.
Tuition that is the same as child care and includes field trips which enrich the curriculum as well enable the children to experience community involvement by working with local charities in the Denver area.
In addition to our academic program, we provide care for your child from 7:00am to 6:00 pm at no extra cost.
We are open when you need us….searching for childcare on teacher planning days or holidays, […]

Kindergarten Registration 2015-2016 Is Already Here!

Can you believe families will be asked to register for the 2014-15 fall kindergarten beginning in January? What do I look for in a good kindergarten? There are certain basic agreements among educators as to what makes a good program. It should:

Expand your child’s ability to learn about (and from) the world, to organize information, and to solve problems. This increases his feelings of self-worth and confidence, his ability to work with others, and his interest in challenging tasks.

Provide a combination of formal (teacher-initiated) and informal (child-initiated) activities. Investigations and projects allow your child to work both on her own and in small groups.

Keep large group activities that require sitting and listening to a minimum. Instead, most activities feature play-based, hands-on learning in small groups. As the year progresses, large group activities become a bit longer in preparation for 1st grade.

Foster a love of books, reading, and writing. There are books, words, and kids’ own writing all over the classroom.

Don’t forget to talk to your child’s preschool teacher and remember when looking for great alternatives to public school, you are encouraged to tour Iliff Preschool’s private Kindergarten classroom.  You will receive a checklist of “What you what to see in a Good Kindergarten” to take home with you!

Helen is the director and owner of Iliff Preschool, Kindergarten, and School-Age Summer Camp program. She is an advocate for early childhood education as well as a business consultant. Her center is celebrating 51 years of service to the SE Denver community.

What Can You Do To Help Your Child Learn To Read And Be Kindergarten Ready?

When you are reading with your pre-kindergartener:

1. Point to words.
2. Talk about the printed words, like “This word starts with a p and ends with a p.”
3. Ask your child questions. Ask about what just happened and what might happen next.
4. Read different types of books, like fairy tales, nursery rhymes, alphabet books, picture books, and poems.
5. Read books that repeat words and phrases.
6. Play guessing games with sounds and words, like “I’m thinking of a word that begins with b, can you think of one?”
7. Remember, every child is different. They do not all learn to understand, talk, read, or write at the same times. A speech-language pathologist can help if you have any concerns or questions.

Iliff Kindergarten Astronauts

Sympathetic and trusting teachers can be of use to learners, not by deciding what they are to learn but by encouraging and helping them to learn what they are already busy learning. – from the brilliant mind of John Holt


One of the best approaches to early learning will emphasize a studio (small or large) filled with abundant materials where real-life problem solving among peers can occur. The teacher will research and work with the environment to provide numerous opportunities for creative thinking and explorations of children working in collaborative groups.
This week in our Kindergarten classroom we have become Iliff Astronauts…a crew of 10 working in the Iliff Shuttle. We are building a space craft in our airplane classroom and have constructed computers, radios, cameras, gear to repair the shuttle, and special shirts for in-shuttle use. We have been collecting rock samples in our moon boots on our moon walks while wearing our helmets and jet packs as we explore the outdoors. Our Outer Space books added another two pages this week as we learned how much we weigh on earth and..on the moon, To learn more about real astronaut life, we turned to the internet! We watched how to eat and wash our hair in space! We researched and discovered that just today the Astronauts were forced to flee the US side of the space station due to the possibility of a leak. We were thankful that the scare was unfounded and discussed how the Astronauts would evacuate and return to earth if a problem were there.

What is this thing called kindergarten STEM?

Mention the word STEM to an educator and you will hear these words: science, technology, engineering, and math, but mention STEM to a kindergartener and watch their faces light up with delight and as they excitedly use the words fun, invent, build, explore, dig, exciting…and the list goes on and on!


Every Friday morning, Miss Stephanie, founder of Gray Matters, a hands-on science program, arrives with her boxes of materials and enthralls her audience with lessons that get our kindergarteners doing stuff, touching things, mixing materials, separating objects. One of her favorite projects involves burying chicken bones to represent dinosaur bones and letting her students put them back together. After identifying the bones and rearticulating the skeleton, heads are constructed out of clay.   “Kids are natural scientists,” says Miss Stephanie and “getting their hands dirty gets their minds open and their brains jump-started.”

Congratulations to our Alum!

The award Grace Hanover is wearing around her neck was presented by The
Rising Stars program which honors outstanding elementary school students
from across the state. Grace received her award for her exemplary academic
aptitude and character. Our staff is very proud that she received her
excellent foundation for learning while attending Iliff Preschool’s
pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. Here is where she found the
sensitive teachers who responded to her developmental and individual needs
and promoted a true joy of learning.