Throughout the past several months as our students have first worked in a virtual classroom, then enjoyed summer vacation, and are returning to a new way of learning, Desert Sands Unified School District has been introducing our schools to the community. We first featured our high schools and followed with our middle schools. We are now providing an opportunity for readers to learn more about the elementary schools in Desert Sands. As a district of choice, school descriptions are provided for families wanting to know more about individual schools. Two schools are being featured each week.

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Adams Ants

In August 2016, Desert Sands Unified School District took a bold step in the area of preschool education by opening Adams Early Childhood Learning Center, the first centralized preschool site in the Coachella Valley.

Their mission statement is clear: Adams Early Childhood Learning Center’s mission is to provide students with an educational foundation using evidence based practices and developmentally appropriate techniques to encourage independence and a lifelong love of learning. Through collaboration our goal is to empower families by respecting diversity, providing ongoing training, and bridging access to related services.


Adams Ants

The school was created to serve both special needs and general education students at the preschool level. Housing these preschool programs at one site encourages teacher collaboration and allows the assessment team of school psychologist, speech/language professionals, occupational therapists, adapted physical education teachers, and behavior specialists to provide on-site diagnostic assessments. Currently serving close to 200 students the school site provides preschoolers with enhanced classroom space and playground areas and encourages teacher collaboration that serves both the special needs and general education students.

Prior to the opening of Adams Early Childhood Learning Center, the district’s preschool programs were based at six separate elementary schools. The comprehensive learning center enhances learning for our youngest students and is a partner with the other Desert Sands Unified School District early education programs, Head Start and the California State Preschool Program (CSPP).

DSUSD Early Childhood Education

By Principal Jay Rallion, Ed.D.


Early Childhood Education teacher Marina Alvarez and Superintendent Scott Bailey

DSUSD’s early childhood education programs provide a preschool education to 3 to 5 year old children in our community at no cost to families who qualify. We provide full day and part day programs through Head Start and the California State Preschool Program (CSPP). Full day programs are assigned to parents who work or attend school full time. These programs are located at several district school sites, an apartment complex in Indio, and a child development center in our district office building.

In our preschool programs, teachers use a developmentally appropriate curriculum that is aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and the California Preschool Learning Foundations. Both of these tools provide the teaching standards for preschool. Children receive instruction and are assessed in the areas of approaches to learning-self regulation, social emotional development, language and literacy development, English language development for English learners, cognition (including math and science), and physical development/health.

LearningPreschool children learn through play. They learn a variety of skills that they are able to use immediately upon entering kindergarten and the rest of their lives. Preschool teachers interact with their students consistently, guiding them to develop oral language skills, cognitive skills, and ask them open-ended questions to achieve higher order thinking. In addition, students are taught to self-regulate their behavior and to resolve conflicts with their peers.

Parents also play a key role in preschool. In Head Start parents are constantly involved in parent meetings through the policy committee; in the California State Preschool Program parents participate in the advisory committee.

For more information on Desert Sands Unified School District, Adams Early Childhood Learning Center,  and our early childhood education programs click here.

Image Sources

  • Adams Ants: DSUSD
  • Early Childhood Education CE teacher Marina Alvarez and Superintendent Scott Bailey: DSUSD
  • Ece-early-learner: DSUSD
  • Adams Principal Maria Moore: DSUSD