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Pottsgrove Welcomes New Pre-K Counts Class

Pottsgrove school board member Bill Parker (at top) expressed his views Tuesday on pre-kindergarten education

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – A pre-kindergarten program that is expected to better prepare youngsters between ages 3 and 5 for learning in later years could open sometime next week at West Pottsgrove Elementary School in Stowe, as the result of a decision made Tuesday night (Sept. 12, 2017) by the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors.

The school board’s approval gives up to 20 children of Pottsgrove School District families preferred placement in the “Pre-K Counts” class, operated under a grant by the Norristown-based Montgomery County Intermediate Unit. In return, the board said it will not charge the unit for rent, utility, or maintenance fees that might otherwise cover building-related usage expenses.

An open house and introductory meeting about the program is planned for Monday (Sept. 18) at the West Pottsgrove building, 25 Grosstown Rd., Stowe. For more information, call 610-323-6510.

Initial results from program research show that “quality early education can help close the achievement gap for at-risk children,” and in some cases allows them to perform in school better than their peers through fourth grade, according to the state Department of Education.

The class in West Pottsgrove would operate 6-1/2 hours per day, and “will be very play-based,” Principal Terri Koehler said. Children will learn important educational concepts, get exercise in recess activities, and develop social skills, she added.

Although most board members supported the proposal, director Bill Parker – who cast the sole opposing vote – contended parents should provide more of the education Koehler described at home themselves rather than depend on schools for it. Director Rick Rabinowitz countered that accepting Pre-K Counts was “a no-brainer” because up to 40 students over the next two years stood to directly benefit from an early start to longer-term scholastic success.

Directors generally agreed the program would be popular. That posed risks, director Bob Lindgren observed, because parents might expect the district to continue it even if grant funding disappeared. “That money could go away as fast as it came in,” Lindgren warned.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Sept. 12 meeting):

Video and photo by The Post Publications

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