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The Meridian School District works in partnership with our families and our community to educate each student in a safe and supportive learning environment to become a positive contributor to society.



Irene Reither Elementary Early Childhood Program

Welcome to the Meridian School District’s Early Childhood Program!


Preschool Team

Melissa Whitten – Preschool Teacher
Jodi Zander - Para Professional
Elvira Trautman – Para Professional
Kristen Saur - Para Professional

Kristy McKay – Speech Pathology 
Stacie Erfle – Occupational Therapy 
Darla Hostutler– School Psychologist


Bus Drivers       

  AM:  Cindy & Candice
  Midday:  Dick & Jennifer
  PM:  Barb & Canidce

          o   AM:   Monday, Tuesday, Thursday  9:00-11:45

          o   PM:    Monday, Tuesday, Thursday  &  Friday   12:45-3:30

   No Preschool on early release days!


The primary purpose for our program is to ensure access to quality early childhood services for families in the Meridian School District. The focus of the three to five preschool program is to support each and every child’s individual development, ensuring school readiness when entering kindergarten. Our classroom provides rich early literacy and language experiences, creative hands-on conceptual learning, and emphasizes the emerging social skills that will enable children to be successful in a group!

Free screenings are available to help identify children ages three to five who may have developmental delay. Our assessment team assesses children in the areas of speech and language, motor, adaptive skills, social development and cognition to determine the need for early intervention. If a child is found to be eligible for services, an Individual Education Program (IEP) is written to address the needs of the child.

Children who have visual, hearing, or orthopedic impairment, autism, brain injury or chronic health problems may also be eligible for services. 

If you have concerns regarding your child’s growth and development please call: Melissa Whitten: (360) 318-2502 to begin the intake process.

Developmental Areas

Our Early childhood program includes six basic areas of early childhood development. Experiences are provided with structured and unstructured activities in whole group, small group and individual activities.  A Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist support specific learning and development within the preschool classroom.


1.       Cognitive:(Thinking Skills) Learning pre-academic concepts, problem solving, organization, categorizing and readiness skills.

2.       Social/Emotional: Learning to cooperate, take turns, share, express emotions appropriately, use effective coping strategies and interact with peers and adults

3.       Self-help & Adaptive Skills:Learning to become independent with cleanup, buttoning, zipping, toileting, hand washing, dressing and eating skills.

4.       Gross Motor:Large muscle groups moving through space that involve sitting, walking, running, skipping, swinging, jumping, climbing, tricycle riding, and ball skills.

5.       Fine Motor:Small muscle groups involving the use of hands for drawing, writing, cutting, coloring, turning pages, object manipulation and small toy play.

6.       Language and Articulation:  (Receptive/Expressive Language) Learning to listen to and understand others, effectively communicate wants, needs and ideas, and developing the proper production of sounds in speech.  American Sign Language and Native Languages may be used in conjunction with English.

Parent Resources

Prescreening Developmental Checklist for Ages 3-6

ABC’s of Child Development

Opportunity Council of Whatcom County


Provides support and services for children birth to three years and ages three to five

WhatcomCenterfor Early Learning


Provides support and services for children birth to three years with special needs