IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington School District turned the parking lot of Augusta Preschool Academy into a carnival on May 14 to introduce the preschool program to families and prospective students, registering them for next school year and providing other resources. It’s the first time an event has been centered around signing up for school in Irvington.
“We want them to know about the preschool program, and this way we could branch out and make it more community friendly,” Superintendent of Schools April Vauss said in an interview with the Irvington Herald at the event. “It’s a tool to let families know how many resources are available to them.”
ISD has approximately 1,300 preschool students, ages 3 and four years old, enrolled in the program. The program is located at Augusta, which is dedicated solely to the preschool program, and at every elementary school in town except for Chancellor Avenue School and Florence Avenue School. There are also several child care centers in town that have contracts with the school district to provide programming.
Early Childhood Education Director Tawana Moreland said in an interview with the Irvington Herald at the event that 75 percent of the district’s preschool students transition to kindergarten in the district and stay in the school system until they graduate from high school. Even though the majority of the students already stay in Irvington, Vauss said the district wants to see that number increase.
“It’s one of our shining star departments,” Vauss said about Early Childhood Education, complimenting Moreland. “She’s an exemplary director for early childhood development.”
The COVID-19 pandemic threw students of every age into disarray when schools had to shut down in March 2020, and Vauss said she was especially worried about the preschoolers who may have been too young to handle exclusively online learning. Schools are now open again on a regular schedule, but the preschool students are still too young to be eligible for vaccination.
“I was worried about that, but the kids have no problem with wearing masks,” Vauss said. “They were champs; they understood what they had to do. I’m hoping when we come back in the fall things can stay more consistent.”
Photos by Amanda Valentovic