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Akron Central School administrators have announced that the district will continue full-day prekindergarten in September, saying the program "greatly enhances chances for success throughout school years."

"This enhancement has a tremendous impact on all students by raising the general level of interaction in the classroom," district officials said. "There is good reason to believe that these programs also lessen the need of formal intervention at later ages."

Some of the goals of the program set up for 4-year-olds include developing listening, reading, writing, math readiness and speaking skills, a positive self-concept, self-discipline, as well as an appreciation of the arts, music and drama.

The program, school officials said Wednesday, will operate from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. five days a week and run concurrently with the school year.

It will accept about 36 pupils and "be carefully aligned with the district's kindergarten and first-grade program."

Included in the program is a "hands-on play oriented approach" designed to motivate each child. Appropriate experiences will take advantage of each child's natural abilities, interests and enthusiasm for learning.

School officials noted that the demand for early childhood services is due partly to the increased recognition of the importance of experiences during the earliest years of life. It was noted that research shows "high-quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood programs produce positive effects on student social and academic development."

All participants must be district residents. Parents or guardians may submit applications on or before Feb. 29 for any child who will be 4 years old before Dec. 1.

Children whose parents apply will be screened by district staff in March, and the results will be used to determine acceptance into the program.

Parents will be notified before April 13 as to whether their child will be admitted into the program or placed on a weighted waiting list.

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