Preschool Education Program
Welcome to the Strafford Learning Center Preschool Education Program (PEP) operated for the Oyster River School District. PEP is an integrated program providing related services such as speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy within the context of a developmentally appropriate preschool program. Strafford Learning Center and the PEP program successfully completed the state onsite approval process in the spring of 2014 and has been approved through June 2019. PEP runs two morning classes (8:00-10:30) for 3 year old students, and two afternoon classes (11:00-2:00) for 4 year old students.
In September 2010, PEP was relocated to Oyster River High School with two classrooms and a dedicated preschool bathroom located off one of the rooms. A playground specifically designed for preschool aged students was constructed with the help of volunteers from the community in the fall of 2010.
The primary purpose of PEP is to provide a special education program for those student of ages 3-5 who have been determined in need of such a program through the special education process. In addition, some children from the community are enrolled in the program for a fee. If you are interested in more information about the enrollment process, please contact Laurie Grant, Program Director, at 389-3695.
The PEP program utilizes the Creative Curriculum System for Preschool, 5th Edition© as a foundation for curriculum decisions. The Creative Curriculum System is a research based curriculum which integrates all areas of development into center based learning experiences. The Creative Curriculum© is used across the country in both regular education and special education programs. In addition, elements of Eureka Math©, PBIS©, Lively Letters© and Social Thinking© are also incorporated into our work with young children.
Laurie Grant, M.Ed.
Laurie has served as the Program Director since 2003. She received her BA in Early Childhood Education from UMASS/Amherst and her Masters in Early Childhood Education/Special Needs from UNH. Laurie has worked with young children for over twenty years. She feels very fortunate to work with such a dedicated staff of professionals and within a community that values education.
Other interests include spending time with her family, reading, and watching her favorite local sports teams. She is currently on a quest with a friend to hike the NH 4000 footers.
Jennifer Haigh B.S. Ed.
Jen graduated from Rivier College with her dual certification in Special Education and Elementary Education. She later went on to receive her certification in Early Childhood Education after falling in love with teaching preschoolers. Her career began in Derry where she taught preschool for three years and after meeting her husband and stepdaughter, transitioned to the seacoast at Strafford Learning Center where she’s been for the past 5 years.
In her spare time, Jen enjoys spending time with family and friends, coaching the Special Olympics Young Athletes program, cooking, crafting, reading, gardening, doing Zumba, singing, and being outdoors.
Karen Schidlovsky, BSEd., BCaBA
Karen is an early childhood special education teacher and a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst. She has worked as a special educator for 21 years and has been part of the PEP team for 16 years. She graduated from Keene State College and received her training in Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University. Karen has lived in Durham for 30 years and is married with 3 grown boys. She enjoys numerous outdoor activities, volunteers in the community and also loves reading and spending time with friends and family.
Sarah Hesketh, MS SLP-CF/NH Provisional
Speech and Language Pathologist
Sarah recently joined the PEP team as the new Speech-Language Pathologist (Clinical Fellow). She graduated with her masters in Speech-Language Pathology this past summer, making this her first year as a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). Prior to becoming an SLP, she was a Speech-Language assistant for nine years in local school systems. In addition to classwork, she completed the required 400 clinical hours during her master’s program, in the local pediatric private practices (Wiggle Worms and Clearly Speaking) and in a local preschool/elementary school. She has worked under many knowledgeable SLP’s and with many wonderful children who have helped shape who she is today. When she is not immersed in her wonderful job, she can be found spending time with her family and three dogs. Some of her interests include yoga, hiking, and scrapbooking.
Bev Messier, MS, OTR/L
Beverly graduated from the University of New England with her Masters in Occupational Therapy. She has been practicing for the past 7 years in the rehab setting, working with the geriatric population. She started working part time with Strafford Learning Center 5 years ago in both a local middle school and high school. The following year she joined the PEP team and became full time with SLC. This year Beverly is working at the PEP program and at the Oyster River Middle School.
In her spare time when she is not working or remodeling her house with her husband, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves to be outdoors, especially at the beach or in her garden. Additionally, she enjoys cooking and crafts.
Davyanne has been a fan of PEP for over 20 years. All three of her sons were students in the program. She has been a paraprofessional for 6 years on a full time basis after subbing for several years. Davyanne also works at her family’s greenhouses and can be found at many local Farmers’ Markets.
Stacey is the proud parent of 2 PEP alums (now a Senior and a Freshman), and was excited to join the staff 3 years ago. She is a graduate of Simmons College. Stacey was a participant in the Institute of Disabilities Leadership Series (class of 2004) and a 2016 NH LEND trainee. When Stacey is not driving her children “all over the place” she enjoys reading, gardening and knitting.
UNH Teaching Intern
Laura Kazmierczak is in her second and final year as an EC-SEAT (Early Childhood Special Education and Assistive Technology) scholar at the University of New Hampshire. She currently lives on the seacoast of New Hampshire, where she was raised. Laura received her Bachelor of Science from the University of New Hampshire in Child Advocacy and Family Policy with a minor in Interdisciplinary Disabilities. It was during her time interning at the Department of Health and Human Services where she discovered an important link between advocacy, early childhood health and wellbeing, and disabilities which increased her passion to work hands on with all children, and a love for those who have exceptionalities. Over this past summer she interned in an early supports and services setting working hands on alongside a special educator. She is currently interning in PEP, while fulfilling her final obligations with school before receiving her teaching certifications! In her free time, she enjoys playing with her dog Boomer, spending time at the beach, watching football, and spending time with her family.