Falmouth Elementary School is gearing up for its first pre-kindergarten program, which will start this fall with 48 young students.

Parents have until April 25 to register for an enrollment lottery.

A pre-K program had been discussed for a number of years, Superintendent Gretchen McNulty said, but became a financial possibility for the district through a state grant program that was launched in 2021. The Falmouth district applied for a Department of Education grant in the spring of 2022 and was awarded $500,000 last month.

The grant funding will cover a wide range of startup expenses for the full-day program, including three new teachers and three new educational technicians, a new playground, equipment and supplies. The program’s first year costs are essentially budget-neutral, offset by the state funding, according to McNulty.

Transportation to and from school will also be provided for students, which McNulty said will be helpful to many families.

“The opportunity to help all of our youngest residents become school-ready, including the early identification of students who may have learning challenges, is the best way to set all students up for success and minimize more costly interventions as students get older,” McNulty said.


Pre-K programs benefit all students, not just those enrolled, said Falmouth Elementary School Principal Stacy White, because when children are ready for kindergarten on day one, teachers are able to move the whole class forward more easily.

“Children with access to high-quality early childhood education are better prepared to enter kindergarten,” White said. “Quality early education has been shown to produce long-term gains in intelligence and social-emotional skills.”

Children who attend pre-K programs also are less likely to repeat a grade or be referred for special education, she said.

Typical kindergarten enrollment in Falmouth is 150 students and while the pre-K program can currently accommodate 48, McNulty said the district hopes to meet the need as it exists in the Falmouth community. The district is also looking into partnerships with local private pre-K providers, she said.

The desire for a pre-K program was a recurring theme during Falmouth’s comprehensive planning process, as well as in a survey issued by the district in 2021.

“Community input helped inform our planning,” McNulty said.

Names will be pulled at random from those registered in the pre-K lottery and parents can expect to be notified May 1.  For more information go to falmouthschools.org/about/pre-k.

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