Welcome 2016-2017 ELP Families

PLEASE NOTE: 2017-2018 dates and information will be updated when available.

Welcome to the Early Learning Program at Darien Public Schools.

The Early Learning Program is a integrated preschool where children with special needs and children with typically developing skills learn from each other in a nurturing environment. It has been part of the Darien Public School system since 1996.

Class for Darien Residents

The 16 hour a week program for 3 year olds and 4 year olds follows a modified Darien Public Schools calendar. The classrooms are at Tokeneke, Royle and Ox Ridge Elementary Schools, and Monday through Thursday, from 9:30am to 1:30pm.

Mission Statement

The goal of the Early Learning Program is to enhance each child’s cognitive understanding, emotional development, social skills, language and physical motor development through structured and facilitated language and play based experiences.

ELP Applications for 2017-18

Parents are notified of acceptance into ELP or wait list numbers. Deposit of $600 for the 2017-2018 school year is due by February 15, 2017. Please make checks out to Darien Public Schools: (memo: your child’s name 2017-2018). Please mail to Gladys Didia, Darien Board of Education 35 Leroy Avenue, Darien, CT. 06820

Click the link to download the credit card authorization form.


Laura Straiton, Program Director Early Childhood, SESS, 203-656-7472


Darien is now using ASPEN, a secure, Web-based school information management system to collect contact and medical emergency information for your children.

  1. Create an ASPEN account if you don’t have one. Accounts are issued for your whole family. Click Here: this is the link for the form to complete and submit the form to get your account started. Allow at least 2 weeks for processing. You will receive your username/password at your registered home address.
  2. When you receive your login information, visit the site and review the contact and emergency medical information for each of your children to assure that it is complete and accurate. Please fill out all tabs for each child. Your initials are required on the final tab in order for the information to process. Follow this link for step-by-step information http://www.darienps.org/uploaded/content/district/resources/parent_resources/Instructions_for_updating_information_in_Aspen_Updated_1.pdf.
  3. You can update emergency information at anytime. It takes 24 hours for new or updated information to be posted Aspen. If you have any questions or issues with your Aspen account, please email aspen@darienps.org .
  4. Your Aspen account will give you access to School Messenger for email and text alerts related to school closings and changes is school schedules (will replace EdAlert).
ELP Classroom Information


  • Tokeneke School does not allow parents to bring in food/snacks for the class to celebrate birthdays
  • However, signup to be a mystery reader the week of your child’s birthday
  • Donating a book with your child’s name and a message to the classroom is a great way to celebrate your child’s birthday
  • Schedule summer birthdays with your teacher

Mystery Readers:

  • Parents, relatives, care givers are all welcome to read
  • Check with your room parents for dates and times

Pick-up and Drop-off: (refer to the map)

  • IMPORTANT: Instruct your drivers where to park for pick-up and drop-off
  • No cars are allowed to enter the Bus Loop before 8:25 or from 2:45-3:15
  • No cars are allowed to Park in the Drop-off and Pick-up Zone before 8:45 or from 2:45-3:15
  • ELP drivers should always park in the Tokeneke Parking Lot, and NOT the Bus Loop
  • The designated fire lanes are for emergency vehicles ONLY
  • If you park along Old Farm Road you will be towed
  • 8:30 students can be dropped-off with an ELP teacher in the Drop-off Zone in the parking lot, or make plans to ride the bus
  • 9:30 students need be brought by a responsible adult to the school’s main entrance; the adult should wait with their child in the Great Hall for the teachers to arrive
  • All students (except those on the bus) should be picked-up in the Great Hall at 1:30

ELP Parking

Lunch & Snack:

  • Each family is asked to signup for 2-4 weeks for the year, check with your room parents for details
  • As a reminder, please provide snack and drink for students and teachers; teachers like to snack with the kids
  • Juice should be self-stable, and in large containers so that it can be watered down
  • Check with your room parents for classroom allergies; All ELP classrooms are nut-free
  • If your child will buy school lunch, signup online for http://www.lunchprepay.com
  • Snack information and ideas are also available at http://www.tokenekepto.com/resources-for-families/lunch-and-snacks/
  • ELP Snack Ideas from the Teachers (PDF)
  • Smart Snacks in School
  • School Lunch Information

Delayed Opening:

  • 8:30 arrivals will start at 10:40 a.m.
  • 9:30 arrivals will start at 11:40 a.m.

Change in Departure Notification:
The Darien Public Schools launched School Dismissal Manager (SDM) on February 1, 2017 as the district’s main way of tracking elementary school students and ensuring their safe arrival at an alternate destination after school. SDM replaces written notes, phone calls, and emails in notifying elementary school staff about a pickup time change, play date, or after school activity. SDM enables parents to digitally notify school staff of a change in their child’s regular dismissal plan.

Emergency procedures:

Teacher Gifts:

  • Teacher Appreciation: We will not collect money, but we will need classroom volunteers to cook or buy dish items for the teachers
  • Spring Fling: $TBD will go toward the spring fling classroom group basket.
  • Yearbook: New this year, we are suggesting that the Class Parent collect $1 from every parent to cover the cost of staff yearbooks.
  • Holiday: $TBD will go toward a group gift for the teacher and 3 paraprofessionals.
  • End of year: $TBD will go toward a group gift for the teacher and 3 paraprofessionals.

Classroom Signup Sheets:

Visit the ELP Web Site – http://www.darienps.org/page.cfm?p=535


August 30 @ 4pm – Play Date for ELP Families, http://www.tokenekepto.com/summer-playdates/

September TBD @ 12-1pm – Special Ed Students Orientation “Meet the Teacher”

September TBD @ 9:40-10:45am – Room Parent Meeting

September TBD @ 8:30am-12pm – Special Ed Students First Day

September TBD @ 11am-12pm – Peer Model Students Orientation “Meet the Teacher”

September TBD @ 8:30am-1:30pm – Special Ed Students First Full Day

September TBD @ 9:30am-1:30pm – Peer Model Students First Full Day

September TBD @ 9:30-10:30am – Grade-level Coffee for Parents

  • A general parent orientation will be done by the Principal, Vice-Principal, ELP Director, PTO Chairs, Pumpkin Carnival Chairs, and other key leaders.
  • After this, a break-out, small group parent orientation will be lead by the room parents for each respective class.  Please bring your calendar and checkbook, sign-ups and donations will be collected at this time.

September TBD @ No School – Professional Development

September TBD @ 6pm – Parent Open House

September TBD @ All Day – School Picture Day


October TBD @ No School – Rosh Hashanah

October TBD @ All Day – Pumpkin Sale 

  • Write your child’s name on an envelop and send in $2 to buy a pumpkin
  • Pumpkins will be sent home, please have your child decorate the pumpkin
  • Send decorated pumpkins to school with your child on Oct 13

October TBD @ No School – Yom Kippur

October TBD All Day – ELP Pumpkin Share

October TBD @ 10am – Pumpkin Carnival (rain date Oct 16)

  • The carnival will open at 9:30am for ELP families receiving services; a limited number of rides geared toward preschoolers will be operating
  • ELP families will be responsible for staffing at least one game, signup online: http://pumpkincarnival.tokenekepto.com/volunteers/

October 18 @ No School – Professional Development

October @ 10am – Halloween Parade

  • Each family should provide 10 non-edible treats for trick-or-treating (ex: play dough, stickers); the treats are specifically for your classroom and will be distributed by staff as the kids trick-or-treat through the main areas of the school. The trick-or-treating will end in the common room.
  • All family members are welcome to attend the parade (older siblings can not be pulled out of their classrooms)

November TBD @ No School – Election Day / Staff Development Day

November @ 12:45pm – Thanksgiving Feast

  • Each family should provide one dish to share (est. 35 people)
  • All family members are welcome to attend the feast
  • Donate items for the canned food drive

November TBD @ 12pm Early Dismissal – Thanksgiving Recess

November TBD @ No School – Thanksgiving Recess


December TBD @ 12pm Early Dismissal – ELP Parent-Teacher Conferences

December TBD @ No School – ELP Parent-Teacher Conferences

December TBD @ 12:45pm – Holiday Gingerbread House Making

  • Each family should signup to bring in at least one item
  • Before December 22, send in your child’s backpack an empty and clean small milk or orange juice carton with your child’s name written on the bottom; feel free to send in extras if you have them
  • Parents are welcome to attend and help their child decorate their house

December TBD @ No School – Holiday Recess


January TBD @ No School – MLK Day


February TBD @ morning – Super Bowl Pancake Breakfast

February TBD @ ELP No School – Professional Development

February TBD @ No School – Winters Recess

February – Valentine’s Day

  • Students will exchange cards but there will be no party
  • Leave “To” field empty, only write your child’s name in the “From” field

February TBD-March 3 @ All Day – Book Fair


March TBD @ No School – ELP Parent-Teacher Conferences


April TBD @ No School – Spring Recess

April TBD @ Evening – Bingo Night


May 29 @ No School – Memorial Day

May 25, 26, 30 @ No School – ELP Parent-Teacher Conferences


June – Music Share and EOY Party

  • Each family should send in a white tee shirt in a bag with your child’s name written on it
  • Each family provides one snack to share (est. 35 people)
  • Parties will be held in the classroom
  • All family members are welcome to attend the end-of-year party

June 13 @ School Ends for All Students (subject to change due to snow days)