RUSD opens doors to newest First 5 Full Day Preschool classroom, enrollment begins soon

Courtesy Photo/RUSD Rosemarie Devitta (right), a teacher at Rocking Horse, RUSD's newest First 5 San Bernardino full day preschool, speaks with a parent, Angelica Tello (left), about the free program during the site's Open House May 22.

As the school year comes to an end many teachers are preparing for their summer break, but for educators at a recently opened school site in Rialto, preparations for the next school year just started.

An open house celebrating the reopening of Rocking Horse, the newest First 5 San Bernardino Full Day Preschool classroom offered through the Rialto Unified School District, was held last week to help get the free program bustling with children for the 2014-2015 school year.

And the site’s teacher, Rose Devitta, along with other district officials, are anxious to hear children’s laughter fill the classroom once again.

Rocking Horse, which is located at the district’s Child Development Office at 815 S. Willow Avenue, closed its doors a few years ago due to district-wide budget cuts, said Dr. Hilarie Dyson, RUSD’s child development administrator.

But thanks to a grant provided by First 5 San Bernardino, the district is also able to offer the early childhood education program at four other elementary school sites–Curtis, Morgan, Morris and Kordyak.

Each of the First 5 funded programs allows for enrollment of 24 children, district officials said, with open enrollment for Rocking Horse beginning Aug. 5. Although the program is offered through RUSD, district boundaries do not apply, officials said.

The six-hour program will focus on language, literacy, writing and letter identification during the first half of the day, followed by science and math activities in the afternoon, said Devitta.

“The goal is to get them into a daily routine and prepare them for kindergarten,” 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 qualifications for parents or guardians interested in enrolling their child in the program, parents must be working or enrolled in school.

If those interested in the program do not meet the required qualifications,  the district has a total of 23 classrooms open and available 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.


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