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The first day of full-day kindergarten will take place this coming Monday in the former cafeteria building

NeighborImpact Head Start will kick off its first full week of classes at the recently refurbished Ochoco Elementary School, now called the Ochoco School Crossing. Thirty-eight children between the ages of 3 and 5 will join new classmates and teachers for a full day of learning and fun.

"This is our first full-day Head Start program, and we couldn't be more excited," says Kim Snow, Director of NeighborImpact Head Start. "Our teachers and staff have be planning and preparing for this expanded program for months. Full-day Head Start will allow us more time with each student to make improvements in their language, math and social-emotional development and be better prepared for kindergarten when the time comes."

Snow points out that full-day Head Start programs have been on the rise across the United States in recent years with positive results. She notes that full-day preschool students are more likely to score at or above the national average in examinations of literacy, math and language development as compared to part-day students. Full-day students also have higher attendance rates than part-day students, she said, which benefits the individual student and the class as a whole.

"Full-day Head Start is something Central Oregon communities have been asking for for a number of years," Snow continued. "Not only are students able to spend more quality time learning, but their parents are provided with time during the day to work on their GED, take classes, or look for full-time work while still actively participating in their child's education. Plus, eventually, many of our students will only have to walk a mere 20 steps from their front door to arrive at school. How cool is that?"

What Snow is referring to is that while Ochoco School Crossing is home to the Head Start program, it will also be home to a variety of Crook County Parks and Recreation District programs and 29 affordable housing apartments in the near future.

The Ochoco School Crossing project is a collaboration between NeighborImpact, Housing Works, and the Crook County Parks and Recreation District.

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