State approves expansion of Princeton preschool programs

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The New Jersey Department of Education has approved the expansion of preschool programs in the Princeton Public Schools. The district will receive an additional $770,939 to operate the programs.

A new dual language immersion preschool class will be offered at the Community Park School and a new preschool class will be offered in partnership with the YWCA. The school district will also continue to offer preschool classes at Johnson Park Elementary School and Riverside Elementary School.

“Free public preschool is widely recognized as an important path towards closing the achievement gap,” Superintendent Steve Cochrane said in a written statement about the approval. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Princeton Public Schools, and for our entire community. We look forward to opening our new classrooms on the first of October.” 

Currently the district operates two preschool classes for general education students at Riverside and Johnson Park School. Beginning Oct. 1, two more preschool classes will be added. A mixed-age, dual-language immersion class will be offered at Community Park School, where students will learn in both Spanish and English. The district is also opening a program for three-year-olds at the YWCA.

“This Spanish-language immersion class at Community Park supports our goal towards bilingualism for all students who enroll in the immersion program,” Cochrane said. 

The state budget includes $806 million in preschool education aid for the 2020 fiscal year, with an increase of $68 million for preschool programs, including $20 million for the expansion of high-quality preschool. 

More information about preschool openings is available on the Princeton Public Schools website or by calling 609-806-4203.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

3 Comments

  1. It is my perception that most people in the US do not value learning a second language that much, and as a result this immersion program that has been happening in private schools of third world countries since the 70s, is just happening now in Princeton. I sounded like a broken record when I mentioned how this is done in our countries and how kids finish high school fluent in English, not to mention that they are also interested in learning a third and a fourth language. Anyway, this immersion program is fantastic and everybody should be part of it so the kids from Latin America, who understand Spanish, will be also learning to speak and write it correctly. If this immersion program continues , every single HS graduated should be fluent in both English and Spanish, and that would be fabulous. I keep my fingers crossed and hope success is achieved.

  2. Also will this be free preschool for the rich? Are there income limits to this? How many more handouts do the Pharma execs and hedge fund guys need here at the middle-class expense? Shouldn’t free all-day preschool have some income limits and possibly black and Hispanic set-asides?

  3. Is it going to be all-day preschool? This seems like not where the focus should be given the basic safety standards both Riverside and community park have failed to meet …

    Also what is the plan in the JWMS for Spanish emersion? Shouldn’t the focus be on getting that emersion nailed down through 8th grade.. what is going to happen to all those children who took emersion at Community Park when they go to Middle School? What about the speakers of Spanish as a heritage language? Will they be included in Spanish-language ability acquisition in fluency acquisition or will we continue to see the apartheid-like conditions in our schools that make sure that Latino children do not learn even their own heritage language?

    What about year-round school? How can a child take 3 months off from an emersion language program?
    Can we take all the sports out of the schools? The district just asked for $25 mln of which 0 $ go to academic things… almost all of it goes to fancy guidance offices, fancy cafeterias, and sports.. to the military industrial complex of barely safe sporting fields covered in Roundup like chemicals… Something is not right in the way the budgeting and priorities are being set…

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