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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 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. Site locations cannot be guaranteed.

ELP APPLICATIONS ARE BEING ACCEPTED for 3 and 4 year olds for the 2022-2023 school year.  At this time, ELP does not have a preschool option for children turning 5 in September - December 2022.  Please click the link below to Apply to the Early Learning Program.


Tuition for the 2022-2023 school year is $7,300.00 (plus a 3% processing fee).  We anticipate a 3% increase in tuition annually.  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 on 8/31, 11/30 and 2/28.  If you have any questions regarding payment, please contact Celeste Forster, our Accountant at

* If school shuts down due to COVID and ELP becomes virtual, parents who decide to withdraw their children from the program will be refunded a prorated amount based upon their attendance in the program.  This refund must be requested prior to the end of the school year. The non-refundable deposit will not be included in this proration.

Thank you,

Laura Straiton,

Program Director Early Childhood, SESS,



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: