Mt. Sterling hosts new pre-K program

Parents of 3- to 5-year-olds who live in the Madison-Plains Local School District have a new option for pre-kindergarten enrollment.

Starting with the 2008-09 school year, Mount Sterling Elementary will host a full-day, five-days-a-week pre-kindergarten program. Miami Valley Child Development Centers (MVCDC), which operates Head Start and state-funded preschools in Clark, Madison and Montgomery counties, will staff and run the program.

"We’ve been talking about this for a long time," said Mount Sterling Principal Lori Carnevale. "We feel there’s a need in the community because only the Methodist church has a preschool in Mount Sterling. (The new program) is not meant to take over what they are doing. It’s to fill the gaps."

The program will operate during the same hours as school, serve up to 30 children, and include breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. The program is open to any child who lives in the school district, not just Mount Sterling, who is at least 3 years old and not yet in kindergarten.

"We’re starting it here at Mount Sterling because we have the space," Carnevale said. "Hopefully, we will be able to expand it elsewhere in the district over the next couple of years."

The program includes an early childhood curriculum that meets Ohio’s Early Learning Content Standards and fits well with Madison-Plains’ curriculum.

"So much is expected of students with the state mandates and achievement tests. Anything you can do to as parents to have your kids ready for kindergarten is a plus," Carnevale said.

MVCDC plans to use either federal Head Start or state Early Learning Initiative funding to run the program. Because the available funding pays for only part of the day, families will need to complete a childcare application process through the Madison County Department of Job and Family Services. Staff members will assist with the application as part of the full enrollment process.

Staff also will conduct health and developmental screenings for each child, as well as ongoing education assessments. A case manager will be available to work with families on such things as health and social service needs.

For enrollment information, call the Madison-Plains Local Schools district office at 740-852-0290. The district office will take down contact information; an MVCDC representative will contact interested parents directly to explain the application process.

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