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The Shaker Heights City School District offers high-quality early childhood programming intended to meet the needs of our community.

Shaker's early childhood programs are the only programs in the state of Ohio to incorporate the prestigious International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme philosophy with continuation in K-12. We have expanded our offerings to positively impact achievement and to better align with the District’s Educational Equity Policy. 
Our goals in developing The Shaker Heights Schools Early Childhood Program are to expand instructional options available to students, to create more flexibility for entry age into our program and to align the Early Childhood Program with practices in our K-12 classrooms. For example, all classes will include both students who have been identified to have disabilities and those who have not been so identified. In addition, all of our preschool classrooms will continue to be located at Onaway, in order to facilitate collaboration and sharing of resources and staff.

The Early Childhood Program is looking for Peer Models for the 2023-2024 school year. We currently have openings in our half-day program (both morning and afternoon). With a commitment to provide an inclusionary educational setting for our students with special needs, the practice of including "peer models" in our preschool classrooms is used and recommended by the Ohio Department of Education. Peer models provide an excellent learning example for our students with special needs, and also benefit from a rich developmentally appropriate preschool experience with exposure to children with differences.

The criteria for acceptance as a peer model are the following:
  • Children between the ages of 3 and 5 (must be 3 by September 30, 2023)
  • Children must be toilet trained
  • Children must live within the Shaker Heights City School District attendance zone
  • Children must be willing and able to serve as peer models
  • Children must demonstrate behavior within the typical range
  • Children must have strong communication and social skills
If you believe that your child meets the above criteria, the next step is to have your child screened by our Early Childhood Program staff. To apply to be screened, please complete the application here. Please note, this is a request to be screened, not a guarantee of enrollment.

Once your application is submitted, you will be contacted to confirm your request for a 1-2 hour in-house peer model screening, which will take place at Onaway Elementary School. This will provide the preschool team the opportunity to observe specific developmental skills that are essential to our program.

All information provided in the application is confidential and will only be used to help the preschool team get to know you and your child prior to the screening.

To learn more about the Early Childhood program, please review these slides that were shared an in-person information session on February 6: Click here for the slides
Shaker Heights Schools Early Childhood Programs
All programs are located at Onaway Elementary School

Full-Day Program:  
  • Monday-Friday, 8:45 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
  • Annual Tuition: $9,000
  • Tuition discounts will be offered to families that have been approved for free/reduced meals.
Half-Day Program:
  • Monday-Thursday
  • Morning Session: 8:45-11:15 a.m.
  • Afternoon Session: 12:45-3:15 p.m.
  • Annual Tuition: $2,000
  • Tuition discounts will be offered to families who have been approved for free/reduced meals.
Early Intervention Services
The Shaker Heights Early Childhood Program also provides options for students with disabilities: 
  • If you suspect that your child may be eligible for preschool special education services, please click HERE for more information or contact Noreen Smyth-Morrow at 216-295-4090.
  • If your child has an existing IEP, please contact Erin Dzolic at 216-295-6186.

Transitioning to Kindergarten: Info Session


Dejunée M. Lawson
Preschool Coordinator

Erin Dzolic
PreK-6 Special Education Coordinator

Carmen Butler
Preschool Administrative Assistant