In an effort to push for early childhood development, Rialto Unified School District through a partnership with First 5 San Bernardino, is offering a free preschool program for Rialto and neighboring community residents.
The program, First 5 Preschool, is a six-hour school-readiness instructional program intended to prepare 4-year-old children with the necessary skills to begin kindergarten. Registration and enrollment for the program is now being accepted and is on a first-come first-served basis.
According to Rialto school district’s director of child development, Dr. Patricia Krizek, investing now in early childhood education would ensure students are school and workforce-ready, reducing the achievement gap and boosting graduation rates.
“If a child isn’t in a program starting at an early age, they are at a disadvantage,” she said. “Preschool is now the new kindergarten. Kindergarten is is going to be more challenging if they don’t have the pre-literacy and math skills necessary. It’s going to be so difficult for them to catch up.”
Included in First 5’s program is a full six-hour school day along with breakfast, lunch and a snack.
Since offering the full-day program–now in its second year at the district–additional classrooms have been added to provide for the growing number of students enrolling.
At Kordyak Elementary, three classrooms are available for the program and have immediate openings, said Krizek.
Rocking Horse Preschool, which is at the Child Development Office, also has immediate openings available, she added.
To qualify for the free First 5 Preschool Program, children must have turned 4-years-old by Oct. 2, 2013. While there are no income qualification for parents or guardians interested in enrolling their child in the program, Krizek said, they must be working or enrolled in school.
While there are a total of only five classrooms available district-wide for the free First 5 Preschool, Rialto Unified’s 19 school sites has 23 classrooms open for the state’s half-day preschool.
Qualifications for the state preschool program differ slightly from the First 5 program–children must be 4-years-old before Oct. 2, 2013 or 3-years of age by the date. Parents or guardians must also meet income qualifications in order for their child to be considered for the state program.
To learn more about the preschool programs offered at Rialto Unified School District or for enrollment information, visit the Child Development Office at 815 S. Willow Avenue in Rialto or call 909-421-4201.