U46 introduces extended-day kindergarten
By Emily McFarlan Miller firstname.lastname@example.org February 7, 2013 5:06PM
Updated: March 10, 2013 6:26AM
ELGIN — School District U46 announced Thursday an extended-day kindergarten option for the 2013-14 school year.
Extended-day kindergarten will be a tuition-based program for up to 80 students at two satellite sites during the pilot year: two classrooms on the west side of Elgin and two classrooms at Prairie View Elementary School in Bartlett. Depending on the site, those extended hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The idea for the program came partly from U46’s “Give Me 5” campaign focused on early education and partly from parents, according to Julie Kallenbach, the district’s director of Early Learning Initiatives.
“That’s a message we hear from parents all the time,” Kallenbach said.
An extended day is convenient for families because they know their child is being educated and receiving care all day, all at one site, she said. That child doesn’t need to be transported to another site for the district’s before- and after-school SAFE program and even can receive care before and after the extended hours on the same site.
It also will benefit students by giving them more time for educational experiences to develop motor, language, literacy and social skills using the same curriculum as students in the regular half-day program, according to the program director. And it will allow teachers more time to address students’ individual strengths and needs.
Tuition for extended-day kindergarten is $100 for August and $300 per month for nine months, September through May, U46 said.
Reduced fees also are offered for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Students who qualify for free lunches will pay $25 for August, and $70 per month, September through May. Those who qualify for reduced lunches will pay $50 for August, and $145 per month after that.
The district will collect a $96 application fee that will go toward materials at the end of March once students are notified they have been accepted into the program, according to U46.
Dual-language kindergarten may be provided during the extended-day program, depending on interest, the district said. Bus transportation only will be provided if the extended-day kindergarten site is a student’s home school and the student lives more than 1.5 miles away, it said.
If demand exceeds the spots available at extended-day kindergarten sites, a lottery will be conducted for interested families, U46 said.
Parents still have the option to send their child to half-day kindergarten, where students will continue to receive instruction in core curriculum including reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Half-day kindergarten offers morning and afternoon sessions; from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., and from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. or noon to 2:30 p.m.
To apply for extended-day kindergarten by March 15, parents can pick up an application at U46 schools or online at www.u-46.org.