SPRING LAKE, Mich. (WOOD) — Families in Spring Lake can put their children into a new educational program starting this fall.
The Developmental Kindergarten program at Spring Lake Public Schools has been in the works for a while now. Its purpose is to make sure children are ready both socially and educationally before entering traditional kindergarten.
“Really look at that whole child and determine are they ready for the rigor of kindergarten or do they just need a little more time,” said Holmes Elementary School Principal Sandra Smits. “We have lots of children that go to preschool then come to kindergarten and what we have noticed is there is a gap.”
Teachers say they have seen a need for it for a long time and are ready to put it into action.
“We need to take a look and say what is it that our kids need,” said Jeffers Elementary School Principal Shelley Peets.
After preschool, each child will be assessed to determine if they will be sent to traditional kindergarten or the developmental program.
“Our goal would be to have this program just slow down and really meet the needs of the children that are in the program,” said Smits.
Dr. Valencia Agnew, a children’s counselor in Grand Rapids, said it’s important to know that every child learns at a different rate.
“Socially things, such as can they take turns, are they ready to take turns? Or is it, no, it’s my turn right now and they don’t have a full grasp on taking turns,” said Agnew. “Things like making friends or being able to interact with other kids. They just might not be ready yet.”
The developmental kindergarten program will begin next school year. The details of how it will operate are still being fine-tuned, but school officials say they are excited for what’s to come.
“We just want to make sure that kids are ready,” said Peets. “This is their first year in school, it’s their first school experience and we want to make sure it’s a good one for them.”