Early Childhood Education » Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

Welcome to the page of the East Orange School District Early Childhood Department. We work very hard to provide our preschool children with the essential opportunities to learn and practice the social-emotional, problem-solving, and academic skills that they will use throughout their lives. The East Orange School District provides a full-day preschool program for our youngest residents who turn three or four by October 1. We have preschool classrooms in ten of our district schools, and we collaborate with five licensed community providers and Head Start. There is no fee for the six-hour school day. Many of our community providers have before and after-care available. However, we base the fee for this additional program based on income eligibility.


Our mission is to join with all district and affiliated preschool classrooms to provide children with access to safe and accessible, high-quality early education that includes a developmentally appropriate curriculum, knowledgeable and highly skilled educators, and comprehensive services that support their health, nutrition, and social well-being in an environment that respects and supports diversity. We seek to improve professional practice and working conditions in the East Orange Early Childhood classrooms by providing professional development opportunities and resources for those who work for and with young children. We support early childhood teachers and classrooms by using reflective practice to improve instruction and develop an effective curriculum. Within our department, we will work to build a high-performing, inclusive organization of groups, and individuals who are committed to promoting excellence in early childhood education for all young children.
The East Orange School District Early Childhood Department aspires to be pioneers in collaboration with families and communities that focus on developmentally appropriate practices where young children, play, learn, and grow with the foundations needed to be educational models of excellence for the State of New Jersey.
We use, in our high-quality early childhood classrooms, the Tools of the Mind curriculum. Tools of the Mind is a research-based early childhood program that builds strong foundations for school success by promoting intentional and self-regulated learning in preschool. Tools instructional philosophy is inspired by the work of Russian psychologist, Lev Vygotsky and his students, and at the same time is rooted in cutting edge neuropsychological research on the development of self-regulation/executive functions in children.
The Tools Classroom
  • Combines activities specifically designed to promote self-regulation with activities that focus on academic skills while also giving children the opportunity to practice self-regulation/executive function skills
  • Ensures children meet state and national standards be emphasizing research-based activity content
  • Promotes mature play—make-believe in preschool to dramatization in kindergarten, which is the most beneficial context for young children to develop self-regulation, cognitive, and social-emotional skills
Please read more information about the Tools of the Mind curriculum.The Tools of the Mind Curriculum is also in line with the New Jersey Department Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards. For more information, please feel free to visit their website.
  • Child must be at least three or four years old by October 1 of the current school year 
  • Birth certificates are mandatory 
  • Immunizations (shot records) are mandatory 
  • Proof of residency is mandatory
  • Each child must have proof of a physical examination
Additional information pertaining to preschool registration is located on our Enrollment Center website. The phone number at the Enrollment Center is (973) 266.2399.
Immunizations and Vaccinations
Age appropriate vaccinations for children entering preschool are as follows (without exception):
  • Eighteen months-four years
  • Four doses DTaP
  • Three doses polio
  • One dose MMR
  • HIB (minimum of one dose after first birthday)
  • PCV7 (minimum of one does after the first birthday)
  • One dose influenza (annually between September 1 and December 31 each year)
  • Three doses of hepatitis B
Lead Testing
The State of New Jersey requires all pre-k students get lead tested. Please have your child tested prior to registering. Lead poisoning can cause learning and behavior problems in children. Lead can also cause slowed growth, anemia, and hearing problems. A child might have lead in his or her blood but still look healthy. Please do your part to prevent lead poisoning. Know your child’s lead number by talking with your physician or your local health department. For answers to questions, please call the East Orange Health Department - Lead Program at (973) 266.5489.


Dr. Renee Richardson
Principal - Gibson Academy
Leslie Shults
Principal - Wahlstrom Academy
Karen Jackson
Director - Head Start
Sharon Parker
Director - East Orange YMCA
Easter Parks
Director - Harambee Family Academy
Mary Porcelli
Director - Community Day Nursery
Winifred Smith
Director - Zadie's of the Oranges
Dr. Lynda Lynn Wright
Director - Three Stages Learning Center