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Full-day Kindergarten kicks off in Bethlehem

Sara Rosenblatt, parent of 5-year-old Ben, said Wednesday's orientation and a building tour in the spring worked well to make the transition easier for the young learners.

"The school did a fantastic job getting the kids ready," she said. "It's very casual, which brings the kids in at ease."

According to educational authorities, including the state Board of Regents, full-day kindergarten reaps educational advantages for children. There are few who can't handle the time span, as well, since many kids have been in full-day daycare or preschool prior to the public school.

The state has been encouraging schools to move to full-day kindergarten programming for some time, and is offering grant opportunities based on enrollment figures and need-based aid formulas to help effect the transition. Monroe said the district expects to receive about $750,000 at the end of the year when enrollment figures are finalized, and it should cover the entire cost of expanding kindergarten.

"We anticipate we won't use all of that because the number of sections we anticipated was lower," she added.

Local districts assume any costs associated with continuing full-day kindergarten, but many schools in the Capital District have taken advantage of the aid to make the switch a low-impact one. Guilderland, South Colonie and Mohonasen started programs this year, and Ballston Spa schools made the switch last September.

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