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Saint Matthews to Offer Alternative Kindergarten

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--A corridor school is expanding to give parents a choice in their children's education.

Starting next school year, Saint Matthew Elementary School in Cedar Rapids says it will add an alternative kindergarten program.

Alternative Kindergarten or AK is an optional half day program for younger five year olds who aren't quite ready for full-day kindergarten.

It's an option one parent we spoke with says is vital for her child.

Pre-school, it's part of laying the ground work for a great start in kindergarten.

At St. Matthew, there's now another option in between the alternative kindergarten program.

"I have a little boy who has a May birthday and we just feel like alternative kindergarten will give him one more year to go into kindergarten as a strong kindergartner, said parent Trish Schmid.

That's because the program is for younger five year olds who are not ready to make the jump from preschool to kindergarten

Cedar Rapids Community schools already offer it, and St. Matthew is leading the way for faith based schools in the metro area.

"We have parents here that need A-K and so they have gone to public schools which is fine but we just felt that there was a need here at St Matthew school to offer that, said Principal Joseph Wolfe.

Preschool teacher Amy Ball says it's a stepping stone for a child's future

"It's a hundred and eighty days but it's huge in the span of their lives because sometimes the gaps don't catch up until second grade or third grade or even when they are in high school and they are really young, she said.

It's why Schmid says she's already enrolled her son for this fall.

"We didn't have a strong year last year at preschool so it will give us one more year again to get ready for kindergarten, she said.

The program will be staffed with a certified teacher.

The school plans to accept 20 students for the 2014-2015 school year.
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