Home Pinelands News Tabernacle to begin full-day preschool

Tabernacle to begin full-day preschool

Program expansion will allow for 45 students in three full-day classes of 15

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) has awarded preschool expansion aid to the Tabernacle school district that will pay for a free, full-day program.

That means the district can expand its current tuition-based two half day programs into a free full-day program.

Schools Superintendent Shaun Banin explained the state funding depended on the percentage of free and reduced lunches in each district. Prior to this year, the Tabernacle district fell below that threshold.

Gov. Phil Murphy has long supported full-day preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds in the state. The education department, according to its website, is committed to supporting existing programs and increasing funding to expand the program into new districts, with support and partnership from state licensed child-care and Head Start providers. It also supports growing the number of available seats in existing preschool programs.

The Tabernacle district received $522,504 to fund full-day preschool in the 2024-’25 school year. Over the course of five years, the district is expected to get even more funding for expansion, Banin explained, noting the amount each year will depend on its needs.

The 18 students currently enrolled in two half-day programs are guaranteed spots in the full-day preschool. The expansion will allow for 45 students in three full-day classes of 15. Remaining spaces will be filled through a lottery. Eligible students must have turned 3 years old by last Oct. 1.

Banin sent a letter to Tabernacle families about the preschool expansion on Jan. 22. Parents who would like to enter their child’s name into the lottery must fill out a form by Feb. 15. Students who do not receive placement will be placed on a waiting list.

Parents of children selected in the lottery will have until March 15 to complete the registration process. For those not awarded a spot in this year’s program, or who prefer to wait until September for preschool entry, the district will send out the 2024-’25 lottery form on March 25.

Preschool tuition for families currently enrolled in the part-time program will be reimbursed, Banin said, and transportation will also be available for the full-day program.

For more information contact Stacey Arzt, the district’s preschool program administrator, at (609) 268-0153, ext. 1023; arzts@tabschools.org; or www.tabschools.org.

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