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KLA Schools to open in Hillsboro next year

     Crews are expected to break ground later this month on a first-in-Oregon daycare and preschool in Hillsboro.

KLA School, 1855 N.E. 48th Ave., in Hillsboro, will break ground on July 29 and is expected to open by winter 2017. The preschool and childcare center caters to children between 6 weeks and 5 years old.

When finished, the 12,000-square-foot school will house 10 classrooms, a piazza, an atelier, a nature-based playground and a vegetable garden. Shlomit Engel, who manages the Hillsboro school, said that a creek runs through the property, which will be used in lessons.

Engel said the preschool and daycare center will focus on letting students learn naturally, by focusing on the areas of study that they want to learn.

KLA Schools use the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education, Engel said. Developed in northern Italy after World War II, the approach focuses on encouraging kids to learn independently and structures the curriculum around their interests.

Check it out

What: Groundbreaking for KLA Schools Hillsboro

Where: 1855 N.E. 48th Ave.

When: 9 a.m., July 28

More information: Visit KLA Hillsboro's website

“Teachers have to work a little harder,” she said. “They have to get to know their kids and their interests. If it turns out they love bugs, then they use bugs to teach them about camping and nature and what’s relevant for the curriculum for their age group. When they get to the ABC’s, they’ll teach them the letters B-U-G first. They are nudging them toward learning, instead of pulling them.”

The school will enroll up to 144 students when finished, Engel said.

It’s the first KLA preschool in Oregon. The company is based in Miami, Fla., with locations in Washington, California, Texas and Illinois.

Engel has family who attend the KLA School in Bellvue, Wash., and said she fell in love with the school and wanted to bring it to Oregon.

“I’d never heard of Reggio Emilia before, but spend five minutes in that environment and you see the difference,” she said. “

Engel said that she sees her school as a way to bring the community together.

“I believe community is something really important. It’s a family,” she said. “We’ve grown apart as a people. We live together, we work together. Separation isn’t natural, we’re a pack creature.”

For more information, visit KLA Hillsboro's website.