By RANDY DAHMS
Mentone Elementary School Principal
MENTONE — In a recent article by the Center for Public Education, “PreKindergarten: What the Research Shows,” it states, “Across the nation, school districts are working on many fronts to ensure that no child is left behind and that all children reach academic proficiency. However, many educators are discovering that reform efforts in K–12 education systems are sometimes too little and too late. By the time some children reach kindergarten, they are already far behind their peers in skills and measures of school readiness.”
In January, the Board of School Trustees of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation received an update on the first year of the Mentone Kindergarten Readiness Center. Reporting were Ashley DuBois, teacher of the Mentone Kindergarten Readiness Center, and instructional assistant Kari Thompson. Testimonials were given by parents excited about the success of this new preschool program.
One growing concern, however, was that while this program has been highly successful, a single classroom does not meet the demand that is growing in the Mentone community. The school board agreed that an additional section of the Mentone Kindergarten Readiness Center must be added to meet the needs of future students and families.
After conducting interviews for a second preschool teaching position, it was decided that Holly Bradford, a current kindergarten teacher at Mentone Elementary School, is the right teacher for this position. In August, we look forward to 40 preschool students attending the two classrooms of our Mentone Kindergarten Readiness Center.
The high-scope curriculum is utilized for this program as students are taught problem solving, planning, and academic skills throughout the year. The curriculum is structured around student interests. During the course of a school year our preschool students participate in a number of different activities designed around their individual interests. This fall, the program will take another step forward as a greenhouse is being built to offer students a hands-on science curriculum where the children will learn about seeds, plants and how they grow.
At a time when affordable, quality preschool experiences are limited, I am pleased to be part of a school system that prioritizes the needs of our future students and families. If you have a student who will be 3 or 4 years old at the start of the 2017-2018 school year, call the Mentone Elementary School Office at (574) 598-2590 to learn more about our program. We already have a growing list of parents who have expressed interest in their children being part of the Mentone Kindergarten Readiness Center.