GUILFORD, Maine — Embracing research that shows pre-kindergarten classes can make a difference in youngsters’ lives, SAD 4 has opened its pre-kindergarten program to all 4-year-olds starting next month.
In the past, the district had partnered with Penquis to provide preschool classes for only those children who met the guidelines for Head Start. Building on the program’s success, directors are using one-time federal stimulus funds to expand the half-day program not only to all children in the district’s towns of Guilford, Sangerville, Abbot, Parkman, Wellington and Cambridge, but also to any child whose district does not provide the same opportunity, SAD 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns said Friday. District children will have first preference.
“Every statistic and every bit of data suggest that early intervention with children is the best investment schools can make,” Stearns said. Studies show that children who attend pre-kindergarten classes learn to socialize, develop better reading and mathematics skills and have a richer vocabulary, he pointed out.
Eighteen children are enrolled to date, but more openings are available, according to Stearns. He said the program could serve as many as 40 children between the morning and afternoon classes.
Stearns said the program will continue to serve children identified by Head Start as needing assistance in reading and mathematics, but those pupils will be embedded in the new classes.
The program will be taught by Lori Kurzius, who was hired by directors last week. Transportation to and from school will be provided.
An open house for the public and parents of preschool-age children will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, at the former Guilford Primary School. Stearns said the classes in the town-owned building would be isolated from the public.
For more information on the program, call Pam Speed at 876-4590.