Mason City Community School District to expand early childhood education

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(ABC 6 News) – Students have nearly half of the school year to go. But in Mason City, the district is already thinking ahead to the next school year.

The district is expanding its preschool program to offer afternoon daycare. There will not be any changes to the current preschool classes. When signing your child up, you will have the option to add on afternoon daycare. Under state law, 10 hours of voluntary preschool is paid for by the state. Any extra care will be paid for like your average out-of-school daycare.

“It is our goal to make sure that it is at least competitive with what they would be paying anywhere else. But hopefully even a little bit lower cost,” said Assistant Superintendent Bridgette Exman with Mason City Community Schools.

“Because the district is able to offset some of the cost a childcare agency might experience. Like we can provide rooms where they are not having to pay rent. Utilities, wifi, custodial, those types of things. We’re hoping to make this a pretty affordable option for families.”

The district is working to make sure providers can accept DHS childcare assistance. Letting low-income families get the care they need.

In addition, Roosevelt Elementary and Hoover Elementary will be offering a TK program, transitional kindergarten.

The program is for students who are five years old and are ready for school, for example, children born in late summer. If they are not quite ready for kindergarten, parents will have the option to keep the child in classes instead of holding off for another year.

“Transitional kindergarten likely means that we’re going to be pulling fewer kids into our kindergarten program in the same year.

“So right now our plan is to make a shift of two sections of kindergarten into TK and hope that works. But we’re just getting into registration here. Kindergarten registration will be coming up soon as well and then we can get those tentative numbers and make sure we’re staffed appropriately.”

TK and the daycare program will be open to all students.