District 32 to add 40 seats to Pre-Kindergarten

PERRYVILLE – Perry County School District 32 is expanding its Little Pirates Pre-Kindergarten program for Fall 2024, doubling the capacity for its half-day free educational program from 40 to 80 students.

A Pre-K Screening will be held Thursday, June 27 at Perryville Primary Center. To sign up for the screening, call Ms. April Thompson at 573-547-7500 Ext. 1348. To be eligible for Little Pirates Pre-K for the 2024-25 school year, a child must turn 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2024, and be fully potty trained and able to toilet independently. Children will not be registered for the program until after the June 27 screening. Total enrollment for the new school year is limited to 80 students and will be prioritized by student needs.

The half-day Little Pirates Pre-K classes are taught by certified teachers. Parents have the option of enrolling their Pre-K student in a structured extended learning program for the other half of the day at a cost of $15 per day. All families are invited to complete a form for tuition assistance for the Extended Learning Program.

If the child is enrolled in Little Pirates Pre-K and the Extended Learning Program, they can attend from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pre-K students currently pay $1.55 per day for breakfast and $3.25 per day for lunch, or may bring their meals from home.  Bus transportation is not provided for Pre-K.

District 32’s Pre-K follows the district’s academic calendar; when school is not in session, the Pre-K is not in session including inclement weather days. Before- and after-school care (prior to 7:45 a.m. and after 4:30 p.m.) is available through the Adventure Club, at an additional cost.

If you have questions about the Little Pirates Pre-K or Extended Learning Program, please contact Ms. Hayley Kasten at hkasten@pcsd32.com.

The expansion of Pre-K at District 32, using existing classroom spaces, is driven by several factors, including a lack of Pre-K offerings in the county and the need to increase readiness for children entering the D32 kindergarten program. 

“As we investigated our options for expanding our Pre-K program, we contacted all of the preschool programs in the county,” said Emily Koenig, principal of Perryville Primary Center. “They share our concern about the need for more Pre-K capacity in Perry County, and were excited to hear that we might be able to open up additional spots in our program. Most of our preschools have waiting lists at this time, with families adding their names to those lists as soon as they become pregnant. Additionally, we have seen the recent closure of a couple of excellent facilities making it more urgent for our community to provide Pre-K resources.” 

According to the 2024 Perry County Child Care Needs Assessment, the county currently has 1,319 children under the age of six with only 500 daycare/preschool spots available.

Chief Academic Officer Jane Narrow said that many kindergartners begin school unprepared for the learning environment.

“We have seen an increase in the number of kindergartners who have not been exposed to preschool or daycare programs that instill critical social skills that five-year-olds must possess to be successful in school,” Mrs. Narrow said. “Preschool encourages real-life learning through play and nurtures curiosity and social skills. Learning to share and interact socially in a structured learning environment is beneficial to ensure children are equipped for success in school. We want all Perry County students to have the very best start in kindergarten.”