The Harrisonville school board next week will consider a proposal to decrease early childhood offerings for 3-year-olds so the district can focus more effort on preparing 4-year-old children for kindergarten.
Last month, the board heard a proposal from Becky Campbell, principal of the Early Childhood Center, to change preschool offerings next year. Offerings for 4-year-olds would increase to five half-days a week, with both morning and afternoon sessions.
Offerings for 3-year-olds would decrease to once-a-month parent-and-child classes in addition to the weekly Parents As Teachers play groups and monthly Parents As Teachers events.
The change would allow the district to enroll more 4-year-olds than now attend the Early Childhood Center.
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“There is no predefined ‘best age’ for beginning preschool, but there are several factors to consider,” Campbell said. “Students should have basic self-reliant skills, be comfortable with the absence of their parents, have physical stamina for preschool and be able to function within a standard schedule.
“Based on our experience at ECC, we find that the 4-year-old students are developmentally better prepared to attend school, and to begin adapting to a school environment in preparation for their kindergarten experience than their 3-year-old counterparts.”
Educators believe the monthly parent/child classes will help 3-year-olds adapt to the classroom setting with story time and activity centers where the kids can practice skills.
“Students will get a feel for the classroom, and their parents will get ideas for helping their students prepare for school life in their homes,” Campbell said.
The school board will meet at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at the school district headquarters, 503 S. Lexington St.