Awards and Achievements

Grants, Recognition and Awards:  While we are not grant funded, we often write grants for the purpose of providing supplemental materials and experiences to actively engage preschoolers in meaningful, relevant learning.

  • 2013-2014: Opened the first STEM-based preschool in SVVSD and in the state of Colorado
  • 2013-2014:$20,000 Encana grant for creation of The Center for Make/Hack/Play 
  • 2013-2014: $1,000 LEGO Corporation grant from Education Blueprints Association
  • 2013-2014: $23,000 IBM Grant for technology
  • 2013-2104: Successful teacher grant for exploration of live biology in the classroom through the Education Foundation of St. Vrain Valley
  • 2013-2014: Successful $2500 grant to American Furniture Warehouse for lobby furniture and waiting room furniture for Child Find
  • 2014-2015: Featured in Education Week's 2015 Quality Counts Publication 
  • 2014-2015: Featured in Education Week's "Leaders to Learn From:  Don Haddad" about STEM in SVVSD
  • 2014-2015:  Won an Imagination Playground classroom set of building materials, 2015
  • 2014-2015: Successful teacher grant for exploration of Early Childhood Robotics through the Education Foundation of St. Vrain Valley (Teacher: Brandy Ray)
  • 2014-2015: Successful teacher grant for purchase of materials to explore movement and physical activity in the classroom through the Education Foundation of St. Vrain Valley (Teacher: Nicky Willis)
  • 2015-2016: $15,000 Encana grant for increased exposure to STEM learning for early childhood
  • 2015-2016: Successful "Mission Nutrition" grant with the Chef Ann Foundation and Nutrition Services of SVVSD
  • February, 2016:  Successful funding of $2500 in Spark! Parent-Teacher Organization teacher grants focused on literacy, mathematics, and STEM
  • March, 2016:  Successful $5,000 Race to the Top Early Childhood Grant, in conjuntion with the new Colorado Shines rating system
  • March, 2016:  Applied for $20,000 Nutrition and Physical Activities grant through Discovery Ed, called "Smart from the Start"
  • March 2017:  $1500 teacher grants to Spark! DIscovery PTO
  • April, 2017:  Highlighted in "This is What STEM Looks Like," published by The Women's Foundation of Colorado -- Ch. 1, page 35
  • October, 2017:  Successful Education Foundation for the St. Vrain Valley Grants for Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) equipment and resources, featuring Ty Cito (OT) and Jannine Simone (PT).
  • November 2017:  $1500 teacher grants to Spark! DIscovery PTO 
  • December, 2017:  Featured in the US Department of Education's Preschool Development Grant 11-part series "STEM for Early Learners." The 11-part series offers research, practical application for classroom and home and provides examples of experiences that build scientific, technology, engineering, and mathematical learning for older toddlers and preschool children. We are proud to be represented nationally alongside colleagues from various Universities, the Erikson Institute, and the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. 
  • December 1, 2017:  Colorado Shines Quality rating - Level 4
  • August 15, 2018:  Entered successful grant-based partnership with Healthy Learning Paths

Spark! Discovery Preschool PTO, who sponsored nearly $1500 in PTO grants to support various teachers during the spring of 2017:

  • Kiersten Pierpoint, Preschool Educator- Early Literacy Grant for $145.62 to focus on letter and letter sound recognition 
  • Wrap Around Childcare – Nearly $500 to increase block play, increase exposure to block play, increase books, and for diverse clothing at dramatic play 
  • Ruth Bloomberg, Speech-Language Pathologist – Preschool Pragmatic Skills for $32 – to work with children to develop verbal reasoning and organizational skills (inferences, problem solving, determining causation, generalizing, etc.).
  • Nicky Willis, Preschool Educator – Differentiated Instruction for literacy and mathematics for $147, for materials to challenge highly-abled learners.
  • Alyssa Rehder, Preschool Educator – Now I Know My ABC’s for $150 for manipulatives and games to support alphabet recognition and sound recognition at the literacy center
  • Megan Burgess, Preschool Educator – Early Story Telling in Preschool, for $169 to develop retelling skills, oral creation of stories, and understanding key elements in stories.
  • Literacy Committee, for whole-building use – Story Champs in the Classroom for $187.  Story Champs is used to develop elements of story (character, problem, feeling, action, and ending) with all children in each classroom with Ruth Bloomberg, one of our Speech-Language Pathologists.
  • Alyssa Rehder and Megan Burgess – Measuring Math, for $133 to increase measurement skills with materials available to children in the math center.  

Spark! Discovery Preschool PTO, who sponsored nearly $1500 in PTO grants to support various teachers during the fall of 2017:

  • Alyssa Rehder:  Ms. Alyssa, preschool teacher, wrote a grant for $150 called “Listen to Me Read” to increase listening center books on CD which align with STEM units
  • Megan Burgess: Ms. Megan, preschool teacher, wrote a grant for $150 called “Literacy and Language” to increase the number of books, in alignment with STEM units to be used with students with significant support needs.
  • Kiersten Pierpoint:  Ms. Kiersten, preschool teacher, wrote a $150 grant called “Math Enrichment” to enhance numeracy skills during teacher-led and student-driven mathematics investigations.
  • Jess Harbison: Ms. Jess, preschool teacher, wrote a $140 grant called “Alphabet Sounds” to purchase Alphabet Sound teaching tubs to use with students with significant support needs.
  • LouAnne Anderson:  LouAnne, Director of childcare, wrote a $150 grant for dramatic play area supplies including a veterinary play set, house cleaning set, and pizzeria play set.
  • Kiersten Pierpoint, Jo Feurer, Piper Hepburn:  These three staff members wrote a $150 grant, to be split 3 ways, called “Developing STEM with Loose Parts.  This grant supported memberships to RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) for each of them, as well as $25.00 to spend there.  Loose Parts is a STEM term used to refer to open-ended materials which can be used for many purposes, stimulate imagination, and to purse problem solving.
  • Piper Hepburn and Jo Feurer: Both of these preschool educators wrote a grant for $144 each to purchase Letter and Number Carpet squares to use for whole group instruction.
  • Nicky Willis:  Ms. Nicky, preschool teacher, wrote a grant for $150 called “Listen to Me Read” to increase listening center books on CD which align with STEM units 

The PTO funded the following teacher grants written in early September, 2018, by Spark! Discovery Preschool teachers:

  • Nicky Willis, preschool teacher, requested a grant totaling $199.67, titled “Around the World and in the Classroom”.  This would include a 6 month subscription to Little Passports, a program that helps students explore global perspectives on world themes.  Each month a new kit with new themes and activities would be delivered. Also requested are math and literacy games, that promote letter finding, counting, and measurement.
  • Marie Bloch, preschool teacher, requested a grant totaling $118.39, titled “I Can Be Responsible for Me”.  This would include two sets of Sit Spots, a multicolored set, and an alphabet set, that are round spots to be placed on the floor.  These are requested to help students during line up, to promote self regulation, and also letter recognition games.
  • Jess Harbison, preschool teacher, requested a grant totaling $128.74, titled “Sensory Table Safety/Language/Literacy.”  Jess Harbison’s classroom includes a sensory table that contains water or sand at all times, and part of her request is a mat to go under the table, to promote safety and cleanliness in the classroom, as well as smocks, to keep students clean and dry.  Also included in the request is a Positional Word Box set, that helps support following directions, and understand spatial directions for her students with language delays. Another request is a Goldilocks and the Three Bears felt board to help promote retelling of the story by her non-verbal students. 
  • Amy Kuesel, preschool teacher, requested a grant totaling $184.43.  The purpose of her request is to increase creative play, and increase manipulatives in the block area by requesting a wooden train set, as well as plastic animals.  Another part of her request is a set of Sit Spots, spots that are placed on the floor, that help during line up. 

What Parents are Saying: 

"Being able to chose a preschool that has a STEM focus is best decision I made when considering my son's first immersion into school. The way STEM approaches learning encourages creativity and innovation. For preschoolers to be exposed to real world challenges and to be given the opportunity to create their own solutions through critical thinking is by far the best way to learn. Words of praise and encouragement are routinely heard from his teachers. His teachers worked together allowing student independence, guiding and instructing only when needed. As a parent, I could not have asked for a better first school experience for my son! We love Spark! Discovery Preschool! I have watched my son grow and learn academically and socially. I highly recommend the school to anyone who is undecided about where to send their child for preschool. I truly feel you won’t regret it!" --Robyn Osborn, parent

"My daughter is recognizing her letters, counting, and even starting basic writing. This is all when she's three, and next year will just be more growth! The STEM program is great in getting my daughter used to learning through different means. She loves using MYon reading at home just like in school. Her mind is expanding to building with her toys and explaining what she's making. It's a great way to get children ready for school in a positive manner." -- Anonymous parent