All-day preschool will be offered at Eastwood Elementary beginning next school year.
The Oberlin City Schools currently offer half-day preschool, which runs in the morning and has nearly 40 students enrolled.
The all-day option is something district superintendent David Hall has wanted to add since he first came to Oberlin. The half-day option will still be offered.
“We’re excited about getting it started,” Hall said. “We’ve finally worked out the kinks and we’re happy to offer this program for parents and students.”
Hall expects the enrollment for the all-day preschool program to be limited to around 20 students, with Oberlin residents having the opportunity to sign up before anyone who lives outside the district.
“Often, schools open it up to those on the outside and it fills up. This year we’re going to open it to Oberlin residents first to try to fill the slots,” Hall said. “If we don’t fill the spots, after a certain date we’ll open it up to those outside, the open-enrollment people. We’re hoping to fill it with Oberlin residents first.”
The preschool program is far from just a daycare program.
“We’ll be offering our SITES program in our preschool as well. They’ll be learning Spanish,” Hall said. “They will have Spanish, some itinerant time, and nap time during the day. They’ll get also get some music and gym time, to name a few.”
The SITES program, or Spanish in the Elementary Schools, is a program in which all K-5 students in the district receive 30 minutes of Spanish instruction twice a week throughout the school year. The classes are taught in Spanish by Oberlin College students who have been trained or are simultaneously in training.
Those enrolled in half-day preschool will also get Spanish instruction beginning in the next school year, according to Hall. “We want to get them in early and start building a foundation with the sounds, words, and reading as soon as possible,” he said.
While Hall believes there is some demand from parents for the all-day program, he also believes it’s in the best interest of the district and students to get a head start on the education process.
“I also think it’s just the right thing to do, too,” he said. “Our kids need to have more exposure to school, curriculum, and things like field trips. The sooner we can get them into the school system, the better off we are.”
Hours for the all-day preschool will be the same as those for K-2 students who attend Eastwood Elementary. The school day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m.
The cost of the program will be on a sliding scale, based on a family’s income.
The district plans to begin advertising the all-day preschool program soon and expects the application process for enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year to begin later this month.
Scott Mahoney can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @sm_mahoney on Twitter.
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