The district is also investigating the possibility of including additional classroom capacity in the renovated Old Bonhomme and Spoede Elementary Schools that might one day be used to provide additional pre-kindergarten options. This effort aligns with our objective to reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the education/equity gaps where they exist in our district.
These few additional classrooms do not greatly impact the costs of these projects and can be used for other programming until there is an opportunity to expand the number of students who are able to take advantage of pre-kindergarten offerings.
Moving Toward Equity of Opportunity
Expanding Pre-K options for residents who have children who turn four years old by August 1 would allow significantly more students to enter our kindergartens with at least one year’s experience in a high-quality preschool where the curriculum is directly aligned with the Ladue Schools curriculum.
This is not something we can make happen overnight. However, in light of the overwhelming research indicating that quality pre-school education has a direct correlation with future academic and social success, there is considerable discussion at the state level for beginning to provide funding for universal pre-school. Should the result be that we are able to expand our offerings to more students in the future, having these spaces already available would allow us to begin this programming immediately without an additional request of taxpayers.
Should the district be able to provide this option at some point, the Ladue Early Childhood Center would continue to provide pre-kindergarten programming and the many other services it offers, including preschool programming for three-year-olds, toddler programming, the Parents as Teachers Program, St. Louis County Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services and Special School District services for children not yet eligible for kindergarten who need additional educational services.