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Letter: Preschool program is essential

To the editor:

The proposed integrated preschool program at Peterborough Elementary School is an essential part of the ConVal budget this year. This program will help meet the district’s demand for high-quality, affordable early childhood education at a minimum expense for taxpayers. Why do we need a preschool at PES?

1. Preschool programs help detect developmental and learning differences at an early age. Early intervention is essential for helping students get the services they need, which can reduce the risk of falling behind their peers in school. Preschool programs also provide a language-rich educational environment in which all children learn valuable social, cognitive and language skills that help prepare them for kindergarten.

The PES program will include both students with disabilities and typically developing students. Integrated programs like this provide access to positive role models and high quality education for disabled students and help all students learn to respect and value the individual differences found in the real world.

Creating a preschool at PES is an important investment in our community. Research suggests that for every dollar spent on preschool education, $7 go back to the community in the form of increased graduation, higher job rates and decreased crime. The program will also provide a more affordable preschool option for families, many of whom cannot afford the $250 to $650 per month fees charged by private preschools in the area.

No new construction will be required because the preschool will be in the current PES building, which minimizes startup costs. At only $72,300, this program will create two teaching jobs while raising the tax rate per thousand by only two cents.

The PES preschool is an excellent investment in our children and our community.

Please vote “Yes” for the ConVal budget on March 12.

Alex Crocker

Peterborough

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