Penhold parents will have another pre-kindergarten option closer to home with a new program at Jessie Duncan Elementary School being introduced in the next school year.
The play-based curriculum is geared for youngsters ages three and four and before kindergarten.
After two successful Chinook’s Edge School Division three-year pilots in Sylvan Lake and Olds, the board of trustees recently gave the green light to continue the pilots and add another site. The pilots focused on services for children with mild, moderate or severe delays in areas such as speech and language, physical disabilities, social and emotional areas and medical concerns.
Priority placement in Penhold will be for children with delays or special needs but other children are welcomed into the program.
“Being a kindergarten to Grade 3 school, we see children in kindergarten who struggle,” said principal Karen Norton. “Maybe they struggle in Grade 1 and oh my goodness, I think it is fabulous we can get some of these taken care of before they even hit the education scene. The education scene is difficult enough without having some sort of extra problem.”
Norton said if they can get these children the help they need, in the long run it will save money, time and effort on everyone’s part.
The school’s resource room teacher, who has training in special education, will teach the pre-kindergarten. Consultation services from speech and language pathologists, physical therapists and other health-care professions are part of the program.
About 10 students are expected to enrol.