BUENA PARK, CA – At Corey Elementary School, students as young as two years old are building social skills, learning to read, expanding their language skills and readying themselves for academic success thanks to a revamped preschool program.

Buena Park School District’s preschool program, including the program at Corey School, was recently expanded for the start of the 2022-23 school year to offer part- and full-day options, parent participation opportunities and accommodations for younger students.

Corey School Instructional Assistant Karina Castaneda and the rest of the preschool staff strive to offer a nurturing environment for students and their parents. Castaneda said one of the biggest components of preschool is when students connect with each other and learn about social-emotional growth.

“What I’ve seen in the first few weeks of school is that students really like connecting with each other and teachers,” Castaneda said. “It’s good to have students start school at such a young age because preschool is all about socializing and getting familiar with a school environment.”

Castaneda said the preschool program is also boosting communication rates in English Language (EL) learners since several instructors across the District speak Spanish, Korean and Tagalog. She said having the ability to speak a student’s first language creates a stronger bond between student and teacher and helps students understand academic concepts earlier.

“Connecting with our youngest learners, ages two to five, in their primary language is very important as their preschool experience may be their first structured learning experience in English,” Administrator of Early and Expanded Learning Mary Beckelheimer, who coordinates the District’s entire preschool program, said. “We consider fluency in a language other than English a true superpower in our society and we value staff who are dual and multilingual speakers.”

Corey School Principal LaRonda Ortega said the District’s preschool program was purposely built to address the needs of the community in terms of assisting with EL learners, social-emotional learning and extended care hours for working parents.

“Corey School’s preschool program is a bright example of the strong academic foundations that we’re building for our youngest students at Buena Park School District,” Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “Our District’s preschool program is full of thoughtful, caring instructors and we’re glad to have expanded the program to be nurturing even more students.”


PRESCHOOL1: Corey Elementary School student Ivanya B. learns social-emotional skills playing house with some of her fellow students during her school’s preschool program.

PRESCHOOL2: Corey Elementary School student Raymond O. is expanding his communication, reading and social skills and making new friends during his school’s new expanded preschool program.