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SCSD1 to offer new kindergarten program

RANCHESTER — Sheridan County School District 1 will offer a new program for the 2014-2015 school year aimed at helping young children prepare for kindergarten.

The program, called Classic Kindergarten, will bridge the gap between children who may have completed pre-kindergarten classes, but need to continue to gain social or academic skills before entering kindergarten.

“Classic kindergarten is for 5-year-olds who are ready to go beyond the pre-K curriculum, but not quite ready for the rigors of today’s kindergarten,” said Marty Kobza, SCSD1 superintendent.

“It will be taught and managed jointly, by our kindergarten and pre-K teachers, with the aid of our reading and math specialists. Concurrent with our district-wide approach to blended learning, we will develop individual learning plans for each student as well, which will allow us to better prepare each child, academically and socially, for kindergarten,” he said.

Kobza said based upon last year’s numbers of students who were five but didn’t come to school based upon age, somewhere between 10 and 15 students in the district could potentially participate in the program.

The program will be available at Tongue River Elementary and Big Horn Elementary.

Classes will run Monday through Thursday during the school year from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., depending upon student readiness. Once a child completes classic kindergarten, he or she will move on to kindergarten.

Kobza said the new program is not a requirement, but is an option for parents who feel their child may be too young or otherwise not yet prepared for full-day kindergarten. He said through screenings and through discussions with parents, the district can identify which students would benefit from attending Classic Kindergarten.

“It is a conversation we have, it is not a requirement,” said Kobza. “It’s a decision we’ll make together. It is not something parents will be forced to do. There will be a conversation we will have and try to find what is best for the student in partnership with the parent.”

The program curriculum will focus on literacy development, basic math concepts, creative expression, cultivation of independence, key social skills and introduction to technology they will be using in elementary school.

“It will be that preparation for where they need to be when kindergarten begins,” said Kobza. “And if they accelerate during the year, then we’ll meet their needs on an individual basis.”

Big Horn Elementary School’s kindergarten roundup and pre-K screenings are April 25 from 8 a.m. to noon. Tongue River Elementary School’s kindergarten and pre-K screenings are May 16 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

About

Christina Schmidt

Christina Schmidt has worked at The Sheridan Press since August 2012. She covers a variety of feature stories as well as stories related to local schools.

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