Universal Pre-K program to be offered at the RVC Recreation Center


The Rockville Centre School District’s universal prekindergarten program will now be offered closer to home, thanks to a joint effort with the village.

“We are very excited to be able to offer our UPK program in the Village of Rockville Centre for the first time,” Rockville Centre Schools Superintendent Matt Gaven said in a statement. “Our program, which will be housed on the lower level of the Village Recreation building, will provide 36 spots for our youngest learners.”

In previous years, the district only offered the UPK program at the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside, due to a lack of available space within the five elementary schools.

Based on the results of the school district’s fall values survey, which asked 935 parents, district employees and community members with no school-age children the importance of identifying additional spaces to offer its UPK program to more families, a resounding 42 percent said it was “very important” to them.

“It has been a priority of this board to focus on strengthening the many partnerships in our wonderful community,” Kelly Barry, president of the Rockville Centre Board of Education, said in a statement. “This agreement is an example of that. We heard from our families that there was a desire for an additional Pre-K option within our district. Our village officials were eager and willing to work with us to make this become a reality, and for that, we are deeply grateful.”

Village Administrator Nancy Howard said that the two classroom spaces on the lower level of the John A. Anderson Recreation Center were recently renovated after a flood damaged the basement in September, during a heavy rain storm.

Thanks to the renovations, both classroom spaces have received all-new flooring, energy-efficient lighting, new storage furniture, and new tables and chairs that will be made available to the district.

Based on an inter-municipal agreement, the school district and the village will provide 36 of the district’s youngest students an opportunity to learn, explore and play within the space. It will also allow students access to the playground and gym at designated times.

“I think it will be a great benefit to our residents who can utilize it,” Howard said. “We are determined to see how it works.”

She explained that for now, both the village and the schools have agreed to a one-year cooperative commitment, which, based on how things go, can be expanded in the future.

“The newly renovated space at the village recreation building is more than just a classroom, it is a gateway to growth and exploration for our students,” Gaven said, during the school board meeting on April 4. “With access to these facilities, our students will enjoy a holistic educational experience that balances learning with physical activity and social interaction.”

He explained that if more than 36 parents choose the option of enrolling students in the program at the Recreation Center, a lottery will be conducted on April 19. If less than 36 parents choose the option, additional enrollment will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We expect there will be significant demand for this location,” Gaven added.

The resolution approved by the school board additionally continues the district’s partnership with the Friedberg JCC in Oceanside.

Classes at both the Recreation Center and the JCC locations will be held during the same time, however, before- and after–care is only available to parents at the JCC at a cost to the parents.

“This has been a big ask from the community for the past few years and I am really pleased that we were able to collaborate and bring that opportunity to our students a little bit closer to home,” School board trustee Erica Messier said. “I hope we can continue to explore more options within the community moving forward.”

Following the resolution, school board members extended their thanks to Mayor Francis Murray and village officials for their collaborative efforts, Karen Polito, superintendent of the Recreation Department, and all of the staff and village employees at the Recreation Center for all their hard work to make this happen.

The UPK program is provided to students in the district with no tuition fees.

“We are excited to offer this opportunity to our youngest learners and their families,” Barry said.

Following the announcement, a letter was sent to parents of students currently registered for the UPK program, detailing how parents can select either the RVC Recreation Center of the Oceanside JCC as an option for their children.

To find out more information about the Rockville Centre Community Cooperative for Early Childhood Education visit RVCSchools.org. Parents with additional questions can also contact the Pupil Personnel Office at (516)-255-8928.