Since Waterville School went to full-day kindergarten some years ago, kindergarten teacher Kirsten Thomsen has been hoping for a school-based preschool program to better prepare students.
That need will be addressed beginning this fall.
District children who will turn 4 by Aug. 31 will be eligible to enroll in a new program called Waterville Wonders, part of a statewide transitional kindergarten initiative.
The teacher will be Stacey Biram, who has been a Waterville School teacher for over 30 years, mostly teaching first grade.
Elementary Principal Tayn Kendrick said it will be a full-day program and include lunch and a snack. Students will ride the bus if they are eligible.
The program will include large group time and work at a variety of play stations that students will be able to choose based on their interests.
Kendrick said Biram and Thomsen are excellent teachers with many years of experience to put toward training students during these early years. He expects Waterville Wonders to provide a strong boost to the overall elementary program and for students to be well-prepared for first grade.
“They’re going to have an understanding of what being independent looks like,” he said.
Kendrick said about 15 students have signed up so far for kindergarten and about five have signed up for the Wonders program. He is expecting 15-18 students in this year’s kindergarten class and about 10 in the Wonders class.
The Wonders program will be funded like all other school classes, with the state paying the district for every student enrolled.
Kendrick said he anticipates all-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs becoming the norm across the state in the next five years or so.
“It’s exciting to be towards the beginning of that,” Kendrick said.
Those ready to register their child should contact elementary secretary Korene Greenwood at email@example.com.