East Hawaii News

Prekindergarten Offered in Eight Big Island Schools

May 23, 2014, 1:40 PM HST
* Updated May 27, 10:23 AM
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This fall, Hawaii will join 41 other states in providing state funds for prekindergarten students.

The new program developed jointly by the governor’s Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL) and the Hawaii State Department of Education is designed to serve 420 4-year-old children who qualify based on income – those eligible for free and reduced-price meals — and age requirements.

For the latter, those eligible must be 4 years old on or before July 31, 2014, which follows the new kindergarten age requirement. Priority for the prekindergarten will be given to children born on or between Aug. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2009.

All but four of the 18 participating elementary schools are located on the neighbor islands. That includes eight on the Big Island: Honoka`a, Hookena, Konawaena, Ka`u (Pahala), Mountain View, Naalehu, Keonepoko and Pahoa.

The governor’s office said selection of the classrooms was based on factors that include limited preschool capacity in the community such as in rural areas, available space at schools, currently operating DOE prekindergarten classrooms with funding that is about to end, and the interest and willingness of principals to work with EOEL on implementing a quality program.

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“The Department of Education fully supports any initiative that encourages families to give their children a solid foundation for their learning,” said schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Providing a quality early learning experience for our youngest students is vital to their academic success later in life.”

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Student application packets will be available at the respective school offices.

The first deadline to submit an application is May 30.

For more information, visit http://earlylearning.hawaii.gov.

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