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Greece Central School District expands universal Pre-K with $360k state grant

provided by Laurel Heiden
Greece Central School District

The Greece Central School District is expanding their universal pre-k programming with state funding of $360,000.

Starting next fall, full-day pre-K will be offered at the newly-constructed Greece community Early Learning Center.

Assistant superintendent Valerie Paine said this is an opportunity to help young children transition to classroom settings where they can interact with more children at their own age.

“I think the biggest thing that we're seeing with our youngest children that has been concerning to us is around their social-emotional needs,” Paine said. “It's so important that children, our youngest children are learning around how to navigate the world through play.”

Paine said programming will be largely focused on learning through play, with emphasis on sensory learning and language development.

“Some children are supported more at home than others around academic learning, but we feel like if we get them in school, we're going to be able to catch them up, we're going to meet them where they're at and meet their needs academically,” she said.

State Senator Jeremy Cooney (D-56 ) said the need for this kind of educational opportunity can’t be overstated.

"We have to remember there's going to be a generation of students who never had a kindergarten experience, who never built those relationships early on, and who are going to, unfortunately carry that burden throughout their academic journey,” Cooney said.

Paine says one priority will be to support multi-language learners and students from economically disadvantaged homes.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.