Kindergarten starts early for some kids

January 28, 2008 7:22:23 PM PST
Monday was the first day of school for some soon to be kindergartners. A pilot program in Union City allows children too young for kindergarten to start their education early.

Kindergarten students have to be five years old before December 2nd to be enrolled in the Fall. Today's students just missed that cut off date. However, they are the first ever students for the New Haven Unified School District's pre-kindergarten pilot program.

"It's language based, math, spelling, science and we have art," says Judy Cuturrufo, teacher.

This pilot program is already proving poplar with parents in the school district. There were 40 available spots for children -- 80 signed up.

But this class may be the first and last ever class because Governor Schwarzenegger's budget proposal includes a 10 percent cut for public schools.

"We hope to be able to put together a program that is so good that it can't be cut simply because it benefits the kids so much," says Rick Laplante, New Haven Unified School District.

Judy Cuturrufo knows a structured day helps young students cope with a schedule that starts at 8:30 in the morning and ends at 2:00 in the afternoon. She also uses a reward system to help motivate them.

"I let them know if they follow directions, they get to fill a marble up. You know, pick one person, and when that's full, they get to go to a treasure box," says Cuturrufo.

Judy is giving the student a head start for when they enroll in kindergarten in the fall.