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Rye Resurrection Pre-K Program Off to Fast Start

RYE, N.Y. -- While most public schools are talking about stretching to implement full day kindergarten, Resurrection School in Rye is two weeks into the pilot run of its "Montessori Program," a full day of program for its 4-year-old pre-K students.

"It came about as a way to extend our current programs," Resurrection Principal Harold Nielsen said. "It offers our students to become more involved with the school, to be more like the 'big kids.'"

According to Nielsen, the program is based on what the school provides for their full day kindergartners and offers non-academic afternoon activities that function like an enhanced after-school program. Among those activities is a physical fitness program run by the Rye YMCA.

Nielsen said that the program's coordinator, Ellen Kaplan, and the 12 faculty are largely responsible for the idea and its successful first two weeks. Nielsen also said he was surprised at how quickly the students adjusted.

"They adapted much sooner than we considered, and they're very organized," Nielsen said. "(Ellen and the staff) did a tremendous job preparing the youngsters for the transition."

The pilot program, which has a participation rate of approximately 90 percent, is of no additional cost to the parents’ tuition for this year. However, Nielsen said that the parents must pay a small fee for the after-school programming.

While it's too early in the process to know for sure, Nielsen is optimistic about the program's future, stating that he'd like to see it implemented next fall.

"It's only been two weeks, but we've had a lot of positive feedback from both parents and students," Nielsen said. "We're really excited about it."

Resurrection Parent Karen O'Hara was highly complimentary of the program.

"I love the Montessori program at Resurrection. With two children in the program, I've witnessed firsthand how the nuturing teachers are able to tailor lessons to suit each child's individual needs and progress," O'Hara said. "My kindergarten daughter and pre-k 4 son are polar opposites and both have thrived socially and academically at Resurrection. I can't imagine them anywhere else."

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