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District expands Young Fives



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April 02, 2014 - Oxford Community Schools is looking to expand their Young Fives program from Daniel Axford to every elementary in the district this year, with the exception of Oxford Elementary, according to Dr. James Schwarz, assistant superintendent of curriculum & instruction.

"There seems to be a widening demand for that to give parents greater options within their own neighborhood school," noted Schwarz. "That way the child could just continue through from that Pre-K right into the K in that building."

Currently they just have two classrooms at DA, which have students from all over the district, but having the program offered at a child's neighborhood school, would allow for bus transportation, as opposed to parents having to drive their kids across town.

The Young Fives program was originally started at the beginning of this current school year. DA was a test run for the program, according to Schwarz.

"We used that environment as sort of a pilot both in regards to looking at the demand (and) checking out the curriculum, (as well as) looking at assessments both from a social developmental perspective as well as a content perspective," he said. "So there were several things within the program that we had going this year that was kind of new for us, (but) we feel it's been quite successful and that has certainly added to the desire to expand it to other buildings."

Depending on the number of enrollments, Schwarz said the program could have the potential for staff increase of teachers. Another plus-side he said is that students in the Young Fives program get the same benefits as those in Kindergarten, including art, music, physical education, as well as foreign language and to be apart of Suzuki Strings

He believes the program gives another good "transition" option for parents who are not sure their child is ready for "the start of the Common Core rigor of a kindergarten day."

"You still have many aspects of the curriculum that are grounded in play, but it's not as rigorous of a schedule as say a kindergarten schedule," he said.

For the curriculum, Schwarz said they use their four-year-old pre-school curriculum called "High Scope Curriculum" and blend that with some Common Core attributes.

"Integrated into that (curriculum) is social-emotional development, as well as content development," he added. "It's just a nice transition from pre-school into the kindergarten for those children who need it. I think it's really a nice option for parents. Hopefully we get a good amount of demand for it from each of our neighborhood schools, because we would really like to make that more or less a part of our elementary program."

For enrollment information, visit www.oxfordschools.org or call 248-969-5019.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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