Workers begin construction on the new playground behind Blessed Sacrament School, which will be used by toddlers who are enrolled in the new Early Childhood Development Center, which is scheduled to open this summer.

By Alex Harrington Intermountain Catholic
SANDY — The need for a toddler program has been felt in Blessed Sacrament School for a long time, said Bryan Penn, principal of the school. “Almost every time families register for our school, they say ‘Oh, we need some place for our toddler,’” he said.
Blessed Sacrament will finally have an answer to that concern, Penn said. Starting in August, Blessed Sacrament School will unveil its new program for children 18 to 36 months old, which they call the Early Childhood Development Center.
When they have children who aren’t old enough for school, parents who have to work during the day struggle to find day care for their children, Penn said. “Moms are getting back to work; they need a nice, safe place for the kids,” he said.
This year, Penn sent out a survey about implementing a toddler program to the school parents. The response was swift; parents were all for the idea, Penn said, so work began immediately to turn the theory to reality. Two classrooms that have gone mostly unused are being refurbished, and interviews are under way for the position of director of the Early Childhood Development Center.
The position will be filled by April, an open house will be held in May and the program will begin in August, Penn said.
Before the program officially begins, a version will be offered in the summer for working parents, which will serve as a test run for the Early Childhood Development Center, Penn said.
The program “won’t be a day care. It is a child development center” that will educate toddlers and help prepare them for school, said Mariana Pickers, the school’s advancement director.
The plan is to “start school from the bottom-up,” Pickers said. The new toddler program will prepare young children for the existing 3-year-old program, which leads to pre-k, then kindergarten and so on, she said.
The toddlers will be given plenty of toys to play with and the playground at Blessed Sacrament is being refurbished for their enjoyment as well, but the children will also have books and Bible stories read to them every day, Pickers said.
“We’re planning on starting their education really early,” she said.
The program will be helpful to working parents, said Pickers, the mother of two children who attend Blessed Sacrament School.
“Leaving your baby there, knowing they’re cared for … that they’re going to be safe and entertained,” will ease parents’ minds, she said.