Woodbridge board sets goal to offer full-day kindergarten

Staff Writer

Woodbridge school officials hope to implement full-day kindergarten within the next five years, but several obstacles stand in the way.

“It’s a space-and-budget issue,” Board of Education President Brian Molnar said.

The conversion to a full-day program has been discussed for years, and it is listed as a goal in the board’s strategic plan, which was adopted in July.

Superintendent of Schools Robert Zega said officials will continue to explore the possibility.

“As of now, there are no definite plans,” he said.

Woodbridge currently has 819 students enrolled in the half-day kindergarten program.

Molnar said he would like to implement full-day kindergarten. He recalled the state’s push for a full-day preschool program a couple years ago.

“It just didn’t make sense at the time for us, because we didn’t have full-day kindergarten,” he said, adding that preschool and kindergarten are the building blocks for children to start their education.

In planning for full-day kindergarten, district officials must examine budgetary needs and available space; develop a plan to build new schools or additions; examine needs for additional staff; and implement new curricula to meet the needs of a full-day program, according to the strategic plan.

Board member Jonathan Triebwasser said full-day kindergarten has certain merits, but there are significant challenges for the district to overcome before it can be implemented.

“There is always the issue of space and additional teachers,” he said. “Once solutions are created, the district will be committed to implementing full-day kindergarten.”

Triebwasser said kindergarten has come a long way since he was a kid.

“It was just milk, cookies and naptime then,” he said. “The teachers do an outstanding job with the level of math and writing that is taught in kindergarten now.”

For more information about the district’s strategic plan, visit www.woodbridge.k12.nj.us.