OXFORD — The Oxford Hills School District prekindergarten program is expanding this year to Waterford and West Paris.

The program began in partnership with Community Concepts in 2007, with two classes in the Paris Elementary School, and grew to include Oxford Elementary School and Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway.

This year it will include Agnes Gray Elementary School in West Paris and Waterford Elementary School.

The Paris, Oxford and Norway schools have community slots and Head Start slots available.

School officials say prekindergarten classes set a foundation for future academic success.

“Our data continues to show positive academic benefits,” SAD 17 Curriculum Director Kathy Elkins said. The classes help children learn social skills and school routines, she said.

“Knowing how to go through the lunch line, walk down the hall, listen to others, or play ‘nice’ may seem like little things but, to a new kindergarten student, they are invaluable skills that help them feel secure as they begin their K-12 educational experience. Pre-K is definitely a pathway for student academic and emotional success,” Elkins said.

Nearly half of Maine public elementary schools offer quality preschool programs, according to the Maine Department of Education. Maine has had public prekindergarten in the school funding formula since 1983. 

The district gets reimbursement from the state after two years, and partial reimbursement after 18 months, Elkins said.

In Maine, public preschool is voluntary. Districts don’t have to offer it and parents don’t have to send their children.

For more information, call Marge Scribner at the Oxford Hills School District at 207-743-8972.

[email protected]

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