District to offer pre-K program

HANCOCK COUNTY — Fawn and Nate Car- der didn’t have to look far to find a preschool for their son.

Liam, 4, will start school next year at the new Mini-Marauder Preschool offered through Mt. Vernon Community Schools. The school corporation is preparing to launch its own preschool next school year in the district’s administration building.

The preschool opens Aug. 1 for 3- to 5-year-olds and will focus on general education. The cost is $75 per week for children attending part-time and $125/week for full time. Students with special needs also will be served through the early childhood education program; they’ll receive the services outlined in their individual education program at no additional cost to the family.

When the Carders of Indianapolis learned Mt. Vernon was opening a preschool, they knew that’s where they wanted Liam to be, Fawn Carder said. She and her husband both graduated from Mt. Vernon High School, and her mother-in-law teaches in the school system.

“It’s the perfect fit,” Fawn Carder said.

Mt. Vernon administrators have been working all year to establish the new early learning academy, which they hope will fill a void in the Mt. Vernon community, said Superintendent Shane Robbins. Several churches offer preschool programs, but they typically aren’t full-day classes. The preschool at Mt. Vernon will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Additionally, the preschool will give students an opportunity to grow up on the Mt. Vernon campus, Robbins said. They’ll play at the playground, use the same technology elementary students use and prepare for kindergarten at one of the district’s three elementary schools should they live in the district.

After shuttering the former Fortville Elementary School at 1806 W. State Road 234 in Fortville, the corporation moved school administration offices to the site. But the administration center doesn’t utilize the entire school building. Right now, an alternative school offered through Hancock Madison Shelby Educational Services is hosted there.

Once the school district ends its partnership with educational services after this school year, the preschool will set up shop in the vacated space.

Offering preschool will give the district an opportunity to generate income while also filling a need in the Mt. Vernon community — though students in any school corporation may enroll, Robbins said.

So far, more than 65 children are signed up, and another 50 are on a waiting list, educators said.

Fawn Carder said she and her husband plan to send Liam and his twin sisters — who will be born later this year — to Mt. Vernon schools. Starting there for preschool will help ensure they don’t need to change school systems often, she said.

“It’s the obvious choice for us,” she said.

The program, which will also offer half-day preschool, aims to prepare children for kindergarten and beyond by allowing them to grow socially, emotionally and academically in a classroom setting, said Laura Durig, the district’s special education director, who will oversee the school.

Robbins said he hopes the school is a perfect fit for parents in the community looking for full-day childcare with a learning component.

“We feel pretty excited we’re going to be able to offer something the community needs,” Robbins said.

Mini-Marauder Preschool

Mt. Vernon Community Schools is launching its first preschool for children ages 3 to 5. The program will offer both part-time and full-time early childhood education in the former administration building. Cost is $75/week for children attending part-time and $125/week for full-time.

About 50 children are already on a waiting list.

For more information, visit mvcsc.k12.in.us/7/Home.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.