For the 2017-2018 year, as of September 2017, 401 of the 422 registered for K attended a preschool, 98 outside of Southington/Plantsville. As of January 2018 - 408 of 439 registered attended a preschool and there are 417 K students enrolled. The difference between registered and enrolled is students who have moved out of town, selected another school or decided they weren't ready to start K this year.
For the 2016-2017 year, as of September 2017, 367 of the 415 registered for K attended a preschool, 99 outside of Southington/Plantsville
For the 2015-2017 year, 312 of the 410 registered for K attended a preschool.
In 2011, child care centers and family day care homes in Southington had a total capacity of 942 licensed spaces.
Accordingly, licensed childcare programs provide the capacity to serve approximately 33% of all children under age 5 (2,833) in Southington, down from 36% in 2004.
In addition, there were 7 nursery schools with the capacity to serve 602 children and in 2011, served 414 children. Also, 79% of Southington's kindergartners had a pre-K experience. (CT Voices for Children)
Why are children not consistently attending preschool?
One reason for the differential in the number of spaces available and the number of children attending is cost.
With regard to early education, for every $1 spent on early childhood education, the return on investment is $7. As time passes and children get older, that investment diminishes. If you wait for children to reach school age, or become young adults, the rate of return on invested funds becomes much lower.
Respondents to the 2012-13 ECCS surveys that were distributed among the population of Southington reported a lack of affordable daycare as a major unmet need of families with young children (10.98%) and many listed affordable childcare as a service that would benefit families with young children (9.26%). In addition, focus group participants also listed affordable, quality childcare as a service that is not currently available in our community.
In addition, the ECCS believes that the Southington community would benefit from understanding the differences between preschool, nursery school, early childhood programs, pre-K programs, center based daycare, and home daycare. The ECCS also deems it important to better define what a "preschool experience" means on the Kindergarten intake forms that parents/guardians fill out when registering for K. There is consensus among the members of the collaborative that school readiness can be achieved using different approaches but that many members of our community do not understand these differences. There are several action items in our plan that address educating members of our community about the ECCS and school readiness as well as working to have a central location for all information relating to early childhood programs and services in Southington.
The Family Resource Center (FRC) in Southington provides stellar services to families with regard to support for all programs related to Early Childhood. Some of their successful programs, which are available to all families in Southington, include:
Meet every other month
5-7 parents ideal (NOTE: grandparents or childcare providers who participate in FRC programs are eligible to join PAB)
Cross program participation
Some of the outcomes of the programs listed above include: advocacy and fundraising as well as guide program development.
The FRC would like to investigate an In School Expansion. Currently there is one program location for the FRC, at Hatton Elementary School, with programming in the morning (afternoon programming is not well attended due to nap schedules in the under 5 age group). The FRC envisions doing this by having expansion into at least one other school with half day programs offered at both locations. The programs would meet 9am -- Noon, Monday - Friday
The FRC would also like to investigate expansion into some critical off-site locations in Southington including Darling Street; Summer Brook Apartments; the Southington Community Services building; and Bread for Life (when new facility is built). These areas and locations have traditionally housed and serviced those residents of Southington in need of support services or in lower-income housing.
There is one FRC Director who oversees all programming; recruits families for programming and planning; solicits funds in support of FRC programs and initiatives; meets with outside organizations and community leaders; is affiliated with the Southington Daycare Providers Association, the Age 3 to Grade 3 Advisory Group, the STEPS (Southington's Townwide Effort to Promote Success) Organization, Social Community Services, the Southington Public Schools Administration and the Public Library Staff. In addition, the FRC Director oversees all administrative duties and holds a 30 hour per week position.