Meeting planned to promote full-day K in Shelton

A meeting to highlight the potential advantages of having a full-day kindergarten program in Shelton will take place Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at Sunnyside School, 418 River Road.

Michele B. Bialek, Sunnyside’s parent representative to the Shelton Board of Education’s (BOE) ad-hoc full-day kindergarten committee, said the meeting’s purpose is “to inform Shelton community residents as well as local aldermen of the necessity for full-day kindergarten.” She said an extended kindergarten program is “overdue” in the city.

“There are a myriad of reasons that we as a city need to start this process, not the least of which is that we will save a considerable amount of money over the next eight years simply in remedial support, far outweighing the initial expenditure,” Bialek said.

“Furthermore, the experiential data is overwhelming,” added Bialek, in a reference to studies that show youngsters entering first grade are better prepared after attending full-day K.

School committee looking at issue

The BOE established an ad hoc committee to research and study the idea of implementing full-day kindergarten, and Bialek said she expects the school board to include a full-day K program “in the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.”

“Shelton is one of the only communities left in the state of Connecticut without full-day kindergarten and the current curriculum unfortunately falls short of the surrounding cities and towns,” she said.

“In a city openly proud of its forward progress and efficient operation of government and programs,” Bialek said, “I find it distressing that the ‘cost’ of implementing this sorely needed and well represented program is the only reason for impeding progress.”

'Expectations and curriculum have changed'

What is expected of students entering the lower grades has shifted through the years, according to Bialek.

“The term ‘kindergarten’ simply does not mean what it did in generations past, and as a parent of a child in sixth grade as well as kindergarten, I will tell you first hand that the expectations and curriculum have changed drastically in the matter of just six years,” she said.