Archive for Tuesday, October 29, 1996

PRESCHOOL PROGRAM DRAWS RAVES

October 29, 1996

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The Lawrence school district is taking some steps to ensure that all children start school ready to learn.

Gina Snodgrass thinks the Lawrence school district's new preschool program for 4-year-old children is terrific.

Snodgrass, whose daughter is a student in the full-day program, volunteers in the classroom each morning, helping serve breakfast. Because of the preschool, she knows her daughter will be much better prepared for kindergarten next fall.

"I just found out tonight that we're the first school to have a preschool, and I hope we're not the last," Snodgrass told Lawrence school board members during their meeting Monday night.

Cris Anderson, the school district's coordinator of early childhood education, said there's evidence to support the need for additional preschools. She said she and others are seeking additional funding for the program.

"We really would like to continue the efforts," she said.

The preschool program opened this fall at East Heights School, and it serves 21 students. The program was the brainchild of the Lawrence Business-Education Partnership board, which secured private monies to fund the program.

Also Monday night, board members heard about another early education program that allows parents to work on their General Education Diploma studies while their children attend a preschool at 1919 Del. That program is funded through a federal Even Start grant.

Presently, 13 families are involved in that program, Anderson said.

"We're real pleased with the kinds of results that we're having," she said.

Even Start teacher Ann Miller said her students -- who range in age from 2 1/2 to 5 -- and their parents spend time together every Wednesday.

"This parent moment is so important," Miller said. "We can often tell parents about their child, but when they experience it, it means so much more."

Miller's hope is that the parents continue to be involved in their children's educations and that the children continue to be excited about learning.

"All of these activities are setting the stage for children's success in school," she said.

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