LEWISTON — Four-year-olds are wanted to fill remaining slots for this year’s pre-K classes in Lewiston.

As of Wednesday, there were 42 spaces available, Chief Academic Officer Sue Martin said.

That’s a lot, Superintendent Bill Webster said.

“This is the latest we’ve ever had openings in our pre-K,” he said, adding he hopes to see all pre-K seats taken.

Schools in the Twin Cities open Aug. 27 for most students. Pre-K classes in Lewiston begin Sept. 2.

Last year, the Lewiston School Committee approved a budget that added an additional pre-K class for 32 students — 16 in the morning and 16 in the afternoon — to increase preschool opportunities.

In recent years, the Lewiston School Department has created slots for 280 pre-K students.

Attending pre-K is not legally required, but is important, Webster said. Compared to a decade ago, more is expected of students by the end of their kindergarten year. The Maine Department of Education also encourages enrollment in pre-K classes.

Children who could most benefit from pre-K education include those from low-income families, non-English speaking households or households where children don’t have opportunities to be read to or socialize in play groups.

“Nothing is more important than getting those students into pre-K,” Webster said. “Whether they attend pre-K significantly determines how successful they’ll be when they get to school. In today’s world, children who don’t attend pre-K and don’t develop proper attitudes on school attendance have a much more likely chance of not having success in school, not graduating and becoming a dropout,” Webster said.

Years ago, more children played outside, which can teach how to share, deal with conflict “and learn the world is more than them,” Webster said. More children also used to come to kindergarten knowing their ABCs and how to count, he said.

Pre-K classes help introduce children to expected behavior in school, as well as letters, numbers and some reading.

“It saves so much time in that child’s early education,” Webster said.

Parents who want to enroll their child can call their school or the Lewiston School Department at 795-4100. To qualify, children must be 4 years old by Oct. 15.

The classes are free, and bus transportation is provided.

Some classes at some schools are full. Webster said his staff will try to accommodate 4-year-olds at schools where there is room, or parents can have their child’s name go on a waiting list.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.