New evening program in Aiken County will focus on 4K education

November 24, 2018

Beginning in January, Aiken County Public Schools will launch a new 10-week evening developmental program to help pre-kindergarten students prepare for school.

The program, which will run from Jan. 29 through April 4 will take place on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and evenings from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. Students will be instructed using the district’s current 4K curriculum and also be provided with a snack and nutritious evening meal, according to a news release from the district.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to our Aiken County community families with students who may not have been able to enroll in pre-kindergarten classes during the current school year,” said Jennifer Stark, the Early Learning Programs coordinator for Aiken County Public Schools. “The evening program will utilize the very same curriculum we are using in our classrooms right now to prepare younger students for their first year of school.”

The goal for the program, which will use classrooms at Millbrook Elementary School, Mossy Creek Elementary School, Gloverville Elementary School, Jefferson Elementary School, Busbee Elementary School, Ridge Spring-Monetta Elementary School, Greendale Elementary School and Redcliffe Elementary School, will be to serve around 180 students.

“Research shows that children need about 3,000 hours of pre-literacy training before they come to us in 5K,” said Jeanie Glover, the district’s chief officer of instruction, during a presentation at the Aiken County School Board meeting Nov. 13. “We can’t fit all of those kids in 4K because we don’t’ have universal 4K in our state, so we’re trying to make every effort we can to reach as many 4K students as possible.”

District pre-kindergarten teachers will lead individual classroom instruction, with December early childhood college graduates serving as teaching assistants.

“We’re going to hire December early childhood graduates from USC Aiken to be the teaching assistants,” Glover said. “These early childhood graduates will get experience along side a veteran teacher and experience what it’s like to be in a classroom. It’s a learning opportunity not only for our students but also our future teachers as well.”

Classroom teachers who are aspiring school administrators across the District will take on leadership roles at each program location.

Approximately 100 children are on the 4K evening program waiting list, but openings remain available to any 4-year-old not currently attending Aiken County Public schools. Those students who are currently in local programs offered by the Aiken Housing Authority, Head Start or First Steps also can participate in the 4K evening program.

“This is a great opportunity for our district to serve more Aiken County families in a way that will provide lifelong benefits for them and their students,” Stark said.

For more information, contact Stark at 803-663-4204 or jstark@acpsd.net.

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