Pre-Kindergarten teacher Karra Lucas reads to 4-year olds during a class at the start of the school year. The class is full with 15 students in morning and afternoon sessions.
The Jackson County Education Coalition last week contributed $30,000 to Crothersville Community Schools to expand the Pre-Kindergarten program from 2 half days to 4 half days.
The Jackson County Education Coalition Executive Director, Dan Hodge said “All good things start with a great foundation and this investment will allow our most precious commodities- our children- another opportunity to get that great foundation with the additional preschool time at Crothersville Elementary School.”
Thirty 4-year olds are enrolled in the 3-hour half-day classes Monday through Thursday.
“When it was announced that we would be doubling our time with pre-school youngsters, we quickly booked all available spaces,” said local elementary principal Chris Marshall. “Parents were excited about the educational opportunities.”
“Pre-school or pre-kindergarten is important because it helps to get 4-year olds ready for school,” Marshall said. He noted that children come from a diverse family setting; some where both parents work, some where it is a single parent. “Often times youngsters aren’t prepared for kindergarten. The pre-K classes at Crothersville will get them ready for school learning.”
Marshall said that among the concepts pre-K students learn is counting to 10, learning the basic colors, recognizing the alphabet and the letters sounds, and knowing geometric shapes.
“Many 4-year olds are not used to sitting and listening. Pre-K not only teaches that but also some social skills in interacting with teachers and other students,” said Marshall.
Parents are recognizing the success Crothersville Elementary is having, Marshall said. “The state has recognized us as a 4-Star School and we were 3rd in the state with our most recent improvement in ISTEP scores at Crothersville Elementary,” he said.
That early academic success may be paying off with increased elementary enrollment. There are 60 students enrolled in kindergarten, up from an enrollment of the low 40’s the past few years.
“And 50% of those students have attended pre-school,” said the principal.
Marshall said that he and Hodge are looking for additional funding sources to keep the local academic initiative continuing in addition to seeking accreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The Jackson County Education Coalition is a partnership of education, business, and community leaders focused on aligning and integrating the county’s learning system with economic growth and a high quality of life. The goal of the Coalition is to provide programming to students Pre-K, K-12, post-secondary, and adult education- a “cradle-to-grave” approach, said Hodge.