CROWN POINT | School officials will reach out to area preschools in an effort to align learning programs for children headed to kindergarten.
"The goal is to help students be prepared and to determine how we can assist that," said James Hardman, director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Crown Point Community School Corp.
Meetings are planned in coming months with directors and instructors of preschools, which typically send children on to one of about two dozen kindergarten classrooms in the school district, Hardman said.
"We know a number of preschools that serve students in Crown Point and Cedar Lake," Hardman said. "We plan to bring directors in and talk about what the desired end results for kindergarten are, and what skills children should have when they enter."
Participation by the preschools is voluntary, Hardman said.
Kim Starcevich, director of Play and Learn Preschool in Crown Point, said she would welcome school district input.
"I think it's a fantastic idea," said Starcevich, a co-founder 16 years ago of Play and Learn Preschool, with enrollment this year of 66 kids ages 3 to 5 in half-day sessions.
Play and Learn already works to align its curriculum with the school district's, and has won positive feedback from kindergarten teachers, Starcevich said.
"We're trying to make sure kids enjoy learning and are ready to go on to kindergarten enthusiastically," she said. "We would totally welcome any guidance from the school system."
The time was right to reach out to preschools, after the school district in the fall began providing full-day kindergarten to every student, Hardman said.
The longer school day adds up to more hours of learning fundamental skills, which is expected to contribute to the future academic success of students.
"What students are expected to do once they leave kindergarten has changed," Hardman said. "And that needs to be communicated."
Talks with preschools will take place throughout the semester, and are expected to lead to the creation of a task force to identify standards and to monitor progress, Hardman said.