DOVER - Dialogue about changes to the Dover School’s pre-K program continued at Monday evening’s Dover School Board meeting. In a report submitted in writing to the board, principal Matt Martyn said he does not recommend instituting pre-K instruction for children under the age of 3. A pre-K bus, which started running as a pilot program this year, will continue to run for the remainder of the school year, and Martyn said he will have more information about the structure and costs of a proposed full-day pre-K program at the board’s next meeting.
At its December 18 meeting, the board asked Martyn to research a “pre-pre-K” program for children younger than 3. The directive came after a discussion about pre-K cutoff dates and the merits of early education for students.
In his report, Martyn said that based on his research, programming for children under 3 is considered day care. Martyn said day care facilities are governed by a different set of standards than schools are, may require smaller fixtures such as sinks and toilets, and require a lower teacher-to-child ratio.
Additionally, as the state does not provide any tuition reimbursement for child care, there would not be a possibility for tuition revenue for the school.
“Based on this preliminary analysis, at this time, I cannot recommend that we consider expanding the pre-K by adding day care services for children under 3 years old,” wrote Martyn.
Martyn noted that to his knowledge, the Dover School is the only public-school-based pre-K program that offers programming to 3-year-olds.
In other pre-K news, Martyn recommended that the board continue to run a pre-K bus for its 3- and 4-year-olds, noting that ridership has been between three and 11 students per day. The board agreed.
Martyn said that for the board’s next meeting, he expects to have more specific information about the structure and cost of a proposed switch to full-day pre-K for 4-year-olds. The matter will be on the school’s Town Meeting agenda as its own article.
The Dover School Board next meets Monday, February 5 at 5:30 pm at Wardsboro Elementary.