Boquet: More pre-k seats open for parents

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, January 25, 2017

It doesn’t take an educator to know that the earlier you start a child’s education the better chance they have of succeeding throughout their school years.

That’s why we are happy to announce that we will be further expanding our pre-kindergarten program during the 2017-18 school year.

A more than $200,000 PreK Expansion Grant through the Louisiana Department of Education will provide 40 more seats, allowing more prekindergarten students in St. John the Baptist Parish to get a head start on their education.

The grant further provides an additional nearly $65,000 for 52 “improved” seats, meaning at least 52 children will benefit from quality improvements such as a credentialed teacher who is receiving coaching and professional development and access to comprehensive services.

The expansion is part of a continued statewide effort to unify childcare programs in communities throughout Louisiana.

Locally, our Early Childhood Network is led by the St. John the Baptist Parish Public School District but we partner with several outstanding childcare centers throughout the parish.

For these partners, the district oversees curriculum, teacher observations, assessments and other resources.

It truly is a community effort aimed at providing as many children as possible from infant to pre-kindergarten with a solid early childhood education so that they enter kindergarten with the skills they need to be successful.

In the coming months, the Early Childhood Network will be hosting a series of open houses at our partner childcare facilities so that parents can take a tour, meet the staff, learn about financial aid opportunities and see which one feels like the best fit for their child.

And while our expansion grant only covers prekindergarten, many of our participating childcare centers offer services to children starting at birth.

We’ve already begun accepting applications for these programs for the 2017-18 school year.

The 2017-18 Early Childhood Unified Application is available for download under the Links section of our website at or you can pick one up by visiting the St. John Child Development Center at 117 Stebbins St. in Garyville.

These programs are open to all children in St. John the Baptist Parish, regardless of income.

If your child will be 4 years old by Sept. 30 it’s time to get them registered! Head Start, which is based on income, is also available to children who will be 3 by Sept. 30.

If you have questions about any of the programs, just give the St. John Child Development Center a call at 985-535-3917.

Jennifer Boquet is the communications specialist for St. John the Baptist Parish Public Schools. Email her at