South Colonie Schools began offering full-day kindergarten in all five elementary schools in the fall of 2009, providing the early start which is so critical for long term academic excellence. The district-wide full day program replaced half day sessions previously offered at Forest Park and Veeder Elementary schools, and the Transitional Kindergarten program at Saddlewood, Shaker Road and Roessleville schools.
Since 2006, the New York State Board of Regents has supported a statewide movement to full day kindergarten for New York State school districts. The Regents believe that requiring children to start school sooner and spend more time in school will help to improve overall student achievement. The strategy is to intervene early and give all students a solid head start toward early literacy.
Educational research shows that early intervention such as preschool and full day kindergarten can make a significant difference in how well children perform later on in school.
“Kindergarten is not simply play time, social interaction and taking a nap,” said Saddlewood Elementary Principal Ernie Casile. “We integrate academics such as reading, writing, mathematics, language development, communication, and technological literacy into each day.”
What are the educational advantages?
Research shows there are numerous educational advantages to offering full day kindergarten. A few include:
Helping children with limited or no preschool experience. For some children, kindergarten is their first school experience. These students quickly gain academic skills in literacy rich classrooms and progress socially as they interact with their peers.
Expanding on the preschool experience. Many children who enter South Colonie kindergarten have already attended a preschool program for one or two years. These students will remain challenged and will grow academically with differentiated instruction designed for their specific needs.
Limiting the number of students being referred to long term remediation. The district’s goal is to have students “on grade level” early and feeling successful about school. This formula is a “win-win” for the students, parents and the community.
Increased instructional time. We all know that instructional time is very important. This full day program will allow our teachers to use additional strategies and implement a comprehensive curriculum.
What can parents expect from the program?
South Colonie parents and guardians should expect a comprehensive curriculum, outstanding activities, literacy rich learning environments, social development opportunities and highly skilled teachers.
Pupils entering kindergarten must be age 5 on or before December 1 of the school year in which they enroll in kindergarten. Students entering first grade must be age 6 during the school year in which enrollment takes place except by transfer and recommendation of the school formerly attended. The district traditionally holds new registration and screenings in March. For more information, contact the South Colonie District Office at 869-3576.
Does the district offer an after school program for children?
The district does not offer an after school program directly. Instead, those programs are run through the Town of Colonie at the Colonie Youth Center on Maxwell Road. Call them directly at 438-9596 or visit the Colonie Youth Center website.
What if I have questions about the program?
Parents are invited to call their local elementary school with additional questions.