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Early Learning Program (ELP)

Welcome to the Early Learning Program at Darien Public Schools

The Early Learning Program is an 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 per week program for 3-year-old children and 4-year-old children follows a modified Darien Public Schools calendar. For the 2023-2024 School Year, all classrooms will be located at the Ox Ridge Elementary Schools.  The daily schedule is Monday through Thursday, from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM. 


ELP APPLICATIONS ARE BEING ACCEPTED for 3 and 4 year olds for the 2023-2024 school year.  At this time, ELP does not have a preschool option for children turning 5 in September - December 2023.  Please click the link below to Apply to the Early Learning Program. 

Please click the link below for information on Required Health documentation


Anticipated tuition for the 2023-2024 school year is $7,630.00 (excluding 3% processing fee).  However, the final tuition amount will be determined each year in February by the Board of Education during its budgeting process.  Upon acceptance to the program, payment of your nonrefundable deposit of approximately 10% of the tuition, and the remainder of your tuition payments can be made by Visa or MasterCard.  After payment of your initial deposit, the remaining balance can be paid with two options: Payment in full by August 31st (you will receive a 2% discount for this option) or in three recurring payments (billing 8/31, 11/30 and 2/28).  If you have any questions regarding payment, please contact Celeste Forster, our Accountant at

Thank you,

Laura Straiton

Program Director Early Childhood, SESS


For inquires regarding registration please contact Heather Shea

For inquires regarding tuition payments please contact Celeste Forster

For ALL other inquires please contact the building secretary Mariana Begonja 

or call 203-655-2579


As a result the CT Preschool Special Education Needs Assessment completed by the National Institute for Early Education Research several action items were recommended. One of the recommendations was the development of a glossary of early special education terminology for community-based providers and the families that they serve. We are pleased to share Common Terminology in Early Childhood Special Education in both Spanish and English (file link located at bottom). 

Common Terminology Resource: