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Universal Pre-School Establishes Foundation for Education

February 27, 2013
By SCOTT McCLOSKEY - Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Ohio County Schools officials believe their Pre-K program serves as a model within West Virginia and helps students establish the foundation they need for a lifetime of education, according to Ohio County Student Services Director MaryLu Hutchins.

Hutchins said the program has been so successful over the years that it has expanded to 16 classrooms since its inception in 2002 and the program currently serves nearly 300 students and their families.

Ohio County Schools' Pre-K program has been consistently ranked in the top five programs nationally, according to the nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, according to Hutchins.

Article Photos

Ohio County preschool officials believe their Pre-K program serves as a model program within West Virginia and helps students establish the foundation they need for a lifetime of education. Shown are Ohio County pre-school students, Mahea Vares, foreground, and Jason McCormick working at a computer station at Elm Grove Elementary.

Photo by Scott McCloskey

"Ohio County Schools Pre-K classrooms are designed to provide our children with rich, memorable, interactive, hands-on learning experiences on a daily basis. ... Our young children experience learning in a risk-free environment that encourages exploration vital to nurturing spirit and inspiring children to reach for individual dreams based on personalized interests in learning," said Hutchins.

Hutchins said Ohio County Schools Universal Pre-K program also plays a pivotal role in leading its youngest learners through developmentally appropriate life-long educational practices as student dreams are inspired and achieved. She said the program is available to eligible 3- and 4-year-old students and is designed to meet individual social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, cultural and physical needs.

Hutchins said Ohio County Schools, with its collaborative staff of highly-qualified teachers and assistants, is effective in its delivery of the state-approved Creative Curriculum.

The school system also offers supplemental services including speech, language and occupational and physical therapy to eligible students. Hutchins said the combination of instructive services meets the educational needs of each child served and cultivates personalized learning experiences for each student.

She added Ohio County Schools is committed to providing families with an opportunity for a free, quality universal Pre-K program that will exceed the needs of the children.

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