Investing In Crane’s Future Investing In Crane’s Future

Investing In Crane’s Future

March 07, 2024

A project that expanded Crane School District’s preschool last year from part-time to fulltime for about 40 children is already paying dividends.

In January 2023, with the help of a grant from Silver Dollar City Foundation, the district was able to offer full-day preschool for 4-year-old students preparing to go into kindergarten.

Superintendent Dr. Kelli Rogers said off the bat, the expansion made it possible for some parents who had been staying home with their children to have the available time to seek fulltime employment. What gets Rogers most excited though is what the expanded hours does for the students both now and long-term.

“Having children in a structured class for a full day where they are learning the skills they need to be successful in kindergarten, that is huge,” Rogers said. “When students start kindergarten and they are not prepared, and they don’t have the skills they need, it slows down that learning process.”

Rogers said preparing kiddos for kindergarten impacts more than just their first year though. It sets them on a path for future success.

“Studies show that first grade reading success is a predictor for their entire school career,” she explained.

Data collected from kindergarten readiness screenings show that Crane is on the right path. Children who participated in the district’s first semester of fulltime preschool and then started kindergarten last fall showed to be more prepared for kindergarten than those who didn’t attend.

Crane can accommodate up to 40 4-year-olds at the preschool – all of which is available at no cost to the parents. That means the district will be able to accommodate about 80 percent of incoming kindergartners. Children whose families qualify for free and reduced lunches can even take advantage of that benefit as well. She hopes to eventually be able to expand the three-year-old classroom to full-time in order to accommodate more students.

The Silver Dollar City Foundation grant helped fund needs vital to the expansion, including cafeteria tables, a warming cart for meals, and even nap mats.

“The monies from The Silver Dollar City Foundation were the catalyst which helped us make this change from half-day to full-day four-year-old preschool,” Rogers said.


Care For Kids


Care For Kids