The Bellmore School District will offer a full-day prekindergarten program for students this fall, joining a growing number of school districts across Long Island that are expanding education for the youngest learners.
The district, which has operated a half-day tuition-free program for the past two years, will continue to run that program as well as the new offering, called “Pre-K Plus.” However, there is a fee for the full-day program of $485 per month.
“The benefits and the research is overwhelming on the importance of working with children at this age group,” Bellmore Superintendent Joseph Famularo said Thursday.
The full-day program will have 36 available slots but those numbers may be adjusted due to interest, Famularo said. The district can offer 108 slots to young students next year under a combination of half-day and full-day programs. The final numbers have yet to be configured.
Famularo said the district recently announced the new program and many parents have expressed interest.
The program will be housed in the district’s Early Childhood Center, which serves students in pre-K to second grade. Students must be 4-years-old by Dec. 1 and transportation is not provided. The program will be run by certified teachers.
Last month, the Three Village school district announced it will offer a tuition-free, half-day prekindergarten program in the fall. The Hicksville district also has recently expanded prekindergarten programs.
State Education Department officials and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have strongly advocated for increased educational opportunities for pre-K-age children.
In November, the state Board of Regents, which sets education policy, approved a proposal to streamline funding for pre-K programs with the goal of making it easier for school districts to expand their programs.
In 2013, Cuomo committed to a five-year phase-in of universal pre-K. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded universal pre-K and has provided a full-day tuition-free classroom spot to every 4-year-old in the city.