There has been a great deal of emphasis placed on the importance of early education with Connecticut’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards. Teachers and students are under tremendous pressure to meet the elevated benchmarks that the new standards require. What was previously acceptable comprehension for consideration for promotion to the next grade is no longer even a fraction of what is expected under the new standards.
It goes without saying that the change has to occur at the beginning of the educational experience to avoid a perpetual game of catch-up. With this understanding, it troubles me to see the great financial despair that is facing local nursery schools. Many of our are in danger of not being able to open their doors this school year due to a lack of enrollment and fundraising. One school in particular, , has been educating children and giving back to the community for 50 years and without the help of the community, will not be opening this September.
Northford Community Nursery School is an educational facility located in the basement of the in the Northford town center. I say educational facility because while many preschools serve as an alternative to daycare and provide little educational preparation, NCNS uses the most current methods of instruction to make sure that its graduates are adequately prepared for kindergarten.
For example, students participate in Handwriting Without Tears, a program designed to make legible and fluent handwriting an easy and automatic skill for students. Students are routinely paired with students in the 5th grade from the neighboring elementary school in a reading and writing program aimed at comprehension of the structure of a story.
Students are also expected to know their home address and phone number upon completion of the program. The children are also treated to daily arts and crafts activities and field trips to places such as Lyman Orchards and Big Y. NCNS gives back to the community in the form of scholarships for underprivileged children and also meets the educational requirements of students with special needs.
I understand that the education that one receives in nursery school may seem trivial during such tough economic times, but as an educator, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting a jumpstart on the basic skills of reading and writing. Schools like NCNS assure that the children of our community will hit the ground running in kindergarten and not get left behind.
Unfortunately, the tough financial situation facing many families is preventing them from taking advantage of such a wonderful school. While decreased enrollment is not limited to just NCNS, few schools have such an extensive track record of success. With a little help from the community and businesses, Northford Community Nursery School will be able to open its doors for the 51st year and continue educating the children of our community. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.ncns-ct.com.