Oberlin City Schools Preschool Program Increases to Five Day Week


Holly Yelton

Oberlin City Schools recently announced that it would expand its preschool program from four to five days a week.

Last week, Oberlin City Schools announced that it will expand its preschool program from four days a week to five for the 2022–23 academic year. OCS officials hope this decision will grant children greater educational opportunities and offer parents increased time flexibility.

According to Oberlin Elementary School Principal Meisha Baker, when preschool registration for the 2021–22 school year began last year, some families questioned why OCS did not offer a five-day program. These concerns prompted OCS to reevaluate community needs regarding its preschool program. 

“A few of the parents wanted to be part of our preschool program but they said that the schedule hindered that,” Baker said. “We are not a childcare facility — we’re a preschool. However, we have to realize that by being a preschool, [we] do allow for parents to be able to work. … So, we had to really start thinking about it this year.”

After reevaluating, OCS has decided to add an additional day of preschool to meet demand this year. According to Robert Rinehart, OCS treasurer and chief financial officer, OCS hopes that the additional day of preschool will better complement working parents’ schedules and make up for the in-person experiences students lost due to the pandemic. 

“We just felt that it was the right thing to do to help out families,” Rinehart said.

OCS will offer two programs five days a week. The Integrated Preschool Program offers half day programs for students on Individualized Education Plans, and the Early Childhood Education Grant Program offers a full day program with class sizes of up to 20 students. 

Baker echoed Rinehart, expressing hopes that the program’s increase to five days a week will offer OCS students greater educational and social opportunities and give children a better foundation to prepare for kindergarten. 

“As we look at some of our students who are coming into kindergarten, some of them did not have preschool,” she said. “[This program] helps build that social-emotional part, the taking turns, and the schedule. So this [increase] will allow us to build a little bit of that stamina, like getting their schedule acclimated to that five days a week.” 

According to Baker, OCS will continue to cover the majority of the preschool program’s cost for low-income families who apply for the Early Childhood Education Grant, despite the additional day.

“[The ECE Grant will] probably stay the same,” she said. “We offer … the grants that parents need.”

Despite the increased cost associated with expanding the program, Rinehart also stated that he has no concerns for OCS financing the program’s increase.

“Currently, the district is doing well [financially],” he said. “The community has been very supported by renewing our income tax and our tech levy.”

The program’s additional day also will require OCS to hire more staff members, opening up the opportunity for OCS to hire full-time paraprofessionals and support staff. OCS Preschool currently only has part-time paraprofessionals, and according to Baker, the hiring of full-time paraprofessionals would provide more support for full-time teachers and more learning experiences for the children.

“We have two preschool teachers [and] we have part-time paraprofessionals,” Baker said. “So by doing this [new schedule], hopefully we’ll be able to have full-time paraprofessionals. They’ll be able to stay with the classrooms Monday through Friday for the full day.”

Parents interested in the five-day program can look on the OCS website or attend OCS family literacy night May 12 for more information. Parents can also register their children for the preschool program at this event.