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Article posted: 5/1/2012 4:09 PM

District 302 board approves extended-day kindergarten

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The Kaneland school board Monday agreed to test an extended-day kindergarten program starting in the fall.

The district estimates it has room to accommodate 90 children, with one classroom at each of the four elementary schools.

The board also approved a tuition charge of $250 per month. The intent is to have the program support itself.

District officials have been interested in extended-day kindergarten for several years, but felt there wasn't enough room for it. However, they project an enrollment decline this year in kindergarten sufficient to make room for the pilot program.

Teachers plan to use the afternoon session to reinforce what is taught in the standard core curriculum, as well as social skills, and will use play-based sessions as one of the methods.

The district is accepting student applications until June 1. If too many apply for any location, it will conduct a lottery to determine who gets in. If not enough students apply at any school -- 16 is the minimum -- that school's session would be canceled.

Batavia and St. Charles school districts offer optional kindergarten extensions. Batavia used to offer full-day kindergarten, at no additional cost, but converted to a tuition-based program when its state reimbursement for full-day kindergarten decreased, and because administrators came to believe it wasn't necessary for all children. Batavia ran its own enrichment program for several years, but for the 2012 school year has contracted with the Batavia Park District to run the program.

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