2017-08-31 / Editorial

City introduces Pre-K program

Legislative Lowdown
by Rep. Martin Grohman

As students across the district head back to school this week, there will be a few more young faces in their midst. This year, for the first time, the Biddeford School Department is introducing a new pre-kindergarten program, which is open to all Biddeford children who will be at least 4 years old by Oct. 15. The Pre-K program will be housed together with the Kindergarten Center at John F. Kennedy Memorial School. This addition to the district’s educational offerings is the result of a lot of hard work by Superintendent Jeremy Ray, who has advocated for the addition of Pre-K for some time, along with the school committee. Biddeford’s legislative delegation – including Sen. Susan Deschambault, Rep. Ryan Fecteau and myself – also pushed hard to secure needed state support.

When I talk to constituents, the need for Pre-K is one of the things I hear mentioned most often. Not only does it help with daytime child care (a benefit to working parents today), but there is substantial research that proves that high-quality early learning strengthens Maine’s future workforce by helping to ensure our students develop good skills and habits at an early age. It can especially help reading comprehension. It’s even been shown that Pre-K and similar early childhood programs can help reduce later crime in our communities. Pre-K is a great opportunity for our youngest students and their families to become familiar with the school system and get an early start on school readiness.

There are two Pre-K enrollment options: a morning session from 9:45 a.m. to noon, and an afternoon session that runs from 1:15 to 3:30 p.m. The school department provides busing for Pre-K students. For families that choose to be bused to JFK, the transportation department will determine which session the Pre-K student will attend to make the bus routes as efficient as possible across the city. Food service is included as well – the morning option includes lunch and the afternoon session includes a healthy snack.

Although the school year has begun, if Pre-K sounds right for your child, registration is still available by visiting the district’s new website at biddefordschools.me or calling 282-4134.

As always, with the start of the school year, please be extra careful and watch for buses on the roads and students riding bicycles and walking. We should also recognize our hardworking crossing guards, who are all volunteers.

My sincere appreciation to all who made this important addition to our educational program happen, and I wish all our students, faculty and staff a wonderful and safe school year and extend a special welcome to our new Pre-K students.

Rep. Martin Grohman of Biddeford is serving his second term in the Maine Legislature and is a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Outside the legislature, he is chair of the Biddeford Solid Waste Commission (note that Biddeford’s Household Hazardous Waste Day is Saturday September 9). Marty also hosts a podcast for Maine entrepreneurs called The Grow Maine Show, available on Apple Podcasts. Sign up for legislative updates at www.growmaine.com or facebook.com/ repgrohman.

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