Lafayette school to move forward with full-day kindergarten

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The Lafayette Township School District gave the go-ahead for full-time kindergarten for the 2014-15 school year.

A growing body of research indicates that it is of the upmost importance for children to learn in their earliest years. Building a strong foundation to their future education may just be to supply children with a full-time kindergarten. Lafayette Township School Superintendent, Dave Astor, has stressed that importance for years.

“The board has talked about full time kindergarten for six years," Astor said. "The problem with not being able to pull the gun is consistency with our population.

In the past, Lafayette has fluctuated between two half-day kindergarten classes and one. Now that the population is consistent and the district has had three straight years of one kindergarten classs, implementing a full-day program make the most sense to the Board of Education.

“The earlier you get (the children) the better," Astor said. "It also helps the students establish a "school mindset" where they get into the school routine."

The new Common Core standards push for more rounded students, with the kindergarten curriculum now a very important foundation. Although many schools have felt the need to tighten up, Lafayette didn’t base its decision on anything other than the importance of early childhood learning.

“The CCS was not the deciding factor," Astor said. "We have been discussing full-day Kindergarten for several years before the implementation of the CCS. We truly feel that the earlier you establish a desire and passion for learning, the easier it is for the students to reach their full potential."

The Lafayette school board also is looking into class sizes and expanding where needed.

“We are seriously contemplating having two first-grade and two second-grade classes next year," Astor said. "We are looking at at least 15 students for the kindergarten program next year and if our population grows, we will have to develop a plan to have two full day Kindergarten programs. But that would be a good problem to have."

Kindergarteners in full day programs have risen from 10 percent in the 1970’s to about 77 percent in 2013.

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