The Franklin Square School District’s newly implemented pre-kindergarten program began on Sept. 9, with more than 150 children enrolled in 10 classes in the district’s three elementary schools — John Street, Polk Street and Washington Street. At a board meeting on Sept. 10, Superintendent Patrick Manley said that the program started smoothly, but he told the Herald that parents of pre-K-eligible children must register them as early as possible so that school officials can plan accordingly, and ensure that there is enough classroom space for the higher enrollment that is expected next year.
Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten registration for September 2014 for all three elementary schools will begin the week of Oct. 21 and continue through December. All children living in the district attendance area who will be 4 years old on or before Dec. 1, 2014, are eligible for the program, while children who will be 5 on or before that date are eligible for kindergarten. Those who are already registered for pre-K do not need to be re-registered for kindergarten.
There are two morning classes and two afternoon classes in the Washington Street and John Street Schools, and one morning class and one afternoon class at the Polk Street School. Manley said that one of the major challenges the district faced prior to the start of the program was to find appropriate space in the schools to house all the students who were enrolled. While that is still a concern, Manley said, there is already one additional open classroom that will be used next year if there is an increase in enrollment.
Manley said that Franklin Square school officials recognize the need to provide the community with the pre-K program because it is essential to public education. While one of the program’s goals is to give students the opportunity to equate learning with fun, he said, one significant result is that pre-K students are being recognized as learners in a setting designed specifically for them.
“One student recently told me, ‘This class is so much fun,’” Manley told the Herald. “I asked him what he had done that day to make class so much fun. He listed coloring, reading and math as fun activities. We are well on our way to achieving that goal. Our talented pre-K teachers are making it happen every day.”