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Education

March 30, 2012

Pre-K sign-up shows growth of program

Parents camp out before dawn

DUNCAN — It wasn’t exactly Woodstock, but as is usually the case, getting children into the pre-kindergarten program in Duncan meant some “camping out” at the district main office very early Wednesday morning.

There was a strong showing of hopefuls attending pre-enrollment, hoping to get one of the vacant spots in the pre-kindergarten program.

About 175 students were enrolled Wednesday at the Will Rogers and Irving pre-kindergarten centers.

“It went very well. We finally have a system down,” Merry Stone, Will Rogers/Irving principal, said. “Everybody who enrolled came fairly early.”

Stone said Duncan’s pre-kindergarten program has continued to grow over the past few years. One of the main goals is to expand the program enough to ensure spots for all students the year before they enter kindergarten.

Stone felt the program was growing as more parents understand the value of pre-kindergarten. She said pre-kindergarten prepares students for kindergarten by helping them develop social skills and learn basics needed to be successful in school.

Stone was happy with the turnout of parents wishing to enroll their children in pre-kindergarten. If the enrollment numbers continue to trend upward, more 4-year-olds may be taught than ever before in Duncan schools.

“With the numbers as strong as they were, we may have to add another class,” Stone said. “And that’s a great thing. We want everyone to have pre-K before they go into kindergarten.”

While a waiting list has not yet been established, Stone said parents can continue to enroll children through Central Enrollment. After a maximum number of students are enrolled, a waiting list will be created. If the list grows long enough, another class will be added.

Something different than in previous years is a schedule that makes all pre-kindergarten classes full-day. Parents do have the option of sending their students for a half-day in the morning.

Making all classes full-day is the result of many children being in half-day classes, when they originally signed up for full-day classes. The Duncan Board of Education chose to change all classes to full-day to give all students an option of being in the desired program.

Initially, Stone encountered about 10 families interested in the half-day program. But as she talked with the families, many changed their minds. That number is now less than five families.

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