Hardin Co. will pilot full-day preschool at one of its elementary schools in 2016-17; data will enable district to compare with current half-day schedule at other locations

News Enterprise, Elizabethtown, June 21, 2016

Howevalley to pilot system's first all-day preschool
Lack of nearby childcare centers contributed to its selection
By Anna Taylor

The days are numbered for Howevalley Elementary School, but after nearly eight decades of service, a replacement is being built for the oldest and smallest elementary operated by Hardin County Schools.

Howevalley now has another opportunity to contribute to the district’s advancement. It has been selected to pilot an all-day preschool classroom this August.

The 17-student classroom will be a blended partnership with Central Kentucky Community Action Council Head Start and the school system. It will be the first time the district has offered an all-day preschool classroom.

HCS has half-day preschool classes at other schools lasting 3.5 hours with morning and afternoon sessions. All of those classes will continue on the same schedule.

“Howevalley is one of our school areas that has no pres­ent childcare around it,” HCS Early Child­hood Director Carlena Sheer­an said. “There’s no childcare center there close in the Howe­valley area. Really there’s very few official in-home childcare for children to go to so for our parents, the half-day presents them with the question of where do they go either in the a.m. or the p.m.”

The preschool students will attend from 7:15 a.m. until 2:20 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Sheeran said. Those students will operate similar to the half-day classes, but on a full-day scale with rest and relax time.

Tara Martin will be the teacher and Tammy Kortz and Jennifer Vowells will be assistants. Sheeran said the only items the Howevalley preschool students are expected to bring with them are a backpack and a light-weight blanket.

“We’re super excited about it,” Sheeran said. “I think everybody’s hope is that we have universal preschool for all 4-year-olds and that it mimics the kindergarten day so it’s a full-day. Hopefully down the road that will happen.”

The pilot class will provide the district with data that shows how a full-day classroom performs compared to a half-day on the kindergarten screening. Sheeran said the district also believes offering the full-day class will reduce a barrier for families in the area.

“We think that one full day of instruction will benefit the children,” Howevalley Principal Beth Handel said. “If we need more spots available, because there is a cap in the full-day classroom, the district will look at adding another class at the school.”

Any additional classes added at the school will be half-day classes. The first day for preschool in the district is Aug. 17.

Howevalley will begin its final full year this fall. Students will be relocated to the new Cecilia Valley Elementary, roughly 8½ miles away on Ky. 86, during the 2017-18 school year.

Parents may call the district now and register to see if their child qualifies for preschool. For information about preschool, parents may call central office at 270-769-8800.

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