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Universal Pre-School Program Continues to Grow

February 21, 2012
By SCOTT McCLOSKEY - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

In its eighth year of existence, the Ohio County Universal Pre-School Program continues to flourish and expand each year while establishing the foundation for their students' future education, according to Ohio County Schools Student Services Director Kimberly Miller.

"The Pre-K program provides the children with rich, hands-on experiences," Miller said. "Parents want quality education for their children in an environment that is safe, nurturing and facilitated by certified educators who specialize in early childhood education. The programs enhance reading, writing, math, science and social studies in an environment that young children truly enjoy."

Miller said school system officials believe the pre-school program may be the finest in West Virginia and the program has been so successful that it has expanded in each year of its existence.

Article Photos

Photo by Scott McCloskey
Madison Elementary School’s Universal Pre-K students Lanie Ma’afala, front, and Ember Carmichael participate in Michelle Obama’s National Geographic Kids Guinness World Record attempt to have the most number of people doing jumping jacks.

She said there are now 18 Ohio County sites that offer 3 and 4-year-old students a flourishing program that meets their social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, cultural and physical needs. There are 276 students enrolled in the Pre-K program this school year.

The program serves as an alternative to other pre-school programs such as Montessori or even traditional day care. Miller said Ohio County Schools is committed to providing families with an opportunity for a free, quality universal Pre-K program that will exceed the needs of the children while establishing the foundation of their education.

Miller said one of the strengths of the Ohio County program is a staff of highly-qualified teachers and assistants who deliver the state-approved curriculum. She said Ohio County Schools also offers supplemental services including speech and language, occupational and physical therapy to students eligible to receive it.

Fact Box

Q: How long has Ohio County had its Universal Pre-School program and how successful has it been?

A: The county's pre-school program has been in existence for eight years, and school administrators say it has been a big success in preparing youngsters for the future.

The Pre-K sites have been established in collaboration with preschool agencies and Northern Panhandle Head Start. Locations for the 2011-2012 school year include Cradles-to-Crayons, Creative Hands Child Care Learning Center, Easter Seals, Holy Family Child Care Center, The Kids Club, North Park and Elm Grove, Madison, Ritchie, Warwood and Woodsdale elementary schools.

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