Bernards Parents Have About Another Week To Apply for 'Integrated' Preschool Spot

Mt. Prospect Elementary School, Hansom Road, The Hills section of Bernards Township. Credits: By Linda Sadlouskos

BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Parents of township children ages 3 to 5 (but who are not eligible for kindergarten this fall) can apply until Feb. 26 to have their non-classified children be considered for inclusion in a comprehensive preschool program. The "PALS" program serves special needs preschoolers, but accepts other children on a first-come, first-served basis.

Children with special needs are placed in the program through identification, evaluation, and eligibility procedures as outlined in New Jersey Administrative Code, according to the application form. However, each year, the Bernards Township school district also accepts children who are developing at a more typical rate to be placed in the program at the time of registration for the four-day-a-week program.

The program will be located at Mount Prospect Elementary School in the Hills section of the township. It runs Monday-Thursday, and is staffed by a certified teacher and an instructional aide, according to information on the school district website.

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The application form is online.

The tuition for non-classified students is $275 per month. 

To be considered, non-classified children must be three years old by Oct. 1, 2016; fully toilet trained, a resident of Bernards Township, and be willing to be place in either the morning or afternoon session.

The integrated preschool program will be held four days a week at Mount Prospect School at 111 Hansom Road in The Hills. The morning session will be scheduled from 9 to 11:45 a.m., and the afternoon session will take place from 12:45 to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays through Thursday.

There will be no classes on Fridays. No before-care or after-care will be provided, according to the Board of Education website.

The Bernards Township Integrated Preschool Program or PALS (Preschool for All Learning Styles) educates special needs and typically developing children in a fun, hands-on learning environment, the school website says.

"Children explore their world through movement, art, science, literacy, math, music, cooking, dramatic play, and sensory activities related to various themes. Students participate in whole group activities, learn in small groups with teachers, and gain independence as they follow the routines of the class and play with peers during center time," according to the school district's description of the program.

Learning activities are based upon the New Jersey Department of Education’s Preschool and Teaching Learning Expectations, and are responsive to the individual needs and abilities of each child, the website says. Research has shown that all students benefit from being in this type of program, according to the school district.

The class size ranges from 12-15 students. Registration for the program opened at the beginning of this month. Once accepted into the program, each student may return to the program on an annual basis until they are eligible for kindergarten.

Parents will be notified as to the status of their application during the week of Feb. 29, the application says. There will be a screening date for children who are eligible set up for March, and further registration information will be given out at that time.

Classes are taught by a dual certified teacher in Special Education and P-3 General Education. An instructional aide provides additional instructional support, according to the website.

Tuition is due the 15th of each month prior, the website says. Children must be fully toilet trained prior to September. Transportation may or may not be available. 

For more information, contact Janet Nardone at 908-204-2565, Ext. 128. 

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