Last August, the Cape Girardeau School district started a preschool program, hoping money invested now will improve the long-term academic standing of students in the district.
The premise of the program is solid: Children who learn letters and sounds before kindergarten are more likely to read basic words by the end of kindergarten and get a healthy start on their education.
Results of tests that measure motor and language skills are still being compiled, but administrators say anecdotally the preschool program has been a success.
We have no doubt that it has.
The district budgeted $168,000 for the program this year. Fees for parents are based on income. Those who qualify for free and reduced lunches get a reduced rate.
As with all things related to education, so much depends on parental involvement. Our hope is that this program will reach children who need extra attention to be prepared for the years of schooling that lie ahead.