Half Hollow Hills Pilots Bus Safety Program For Its Youngest Students

Universal Pre-K Students Prepare For The Ride To Kindergarten

Do you remember the excitement of the first time you stepped on a school bus? Recently 150 4-year-olds in the Half Hollow Hills Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) program did just that, as they took part in a bus safety program before heading on a field trip to the district’s newly upgraded planetarium. This special program helped the district’s youngest students become prepared for the daily bus rides they will be starting next school year, coupled with an adventurous field trip to the district’s 24-foot digital projection planetarium.

The students in the UPK program participated in a bus safety lesson provided by the Half Hollow Hills Transportation Department where they learned how to enter and exit the bus properly, the importance of listening to the bus driver, and the rules for bus behavior to ensure their safety.  Following the lesson, the students rode the bus on a field trip to the planetarium at Half Hollow Hills High School East. There the planetarium’s directors, Mr. Affatigato and Mr. Clare, took the students on a virtual trip from Earth to outer space, as they “blasted-off” from their home elementary schools into orbit and explored various places in the solar system and beyond.

“Universal Pre-K is designed to provide our children with a range of experiences that impact their preparedness as they enter kindergarten,” explained Patrick Harrigan, Deputy Superintendent of the Half Hollow Hills Central School District. “Initiatives like the bus safety program and the opportunity to take advantage of the district planetarium are unique aspects of the curriculum made possible through our strong partnership with REACH CYA.”

The Half Hollow Hills UPK program is fully state-funded, with no cost to the local tax payer, and was delivered to approximately 150 children during the 2016-17 school year in partnership with the REACH Community and Youth Agency. Each class is taught by a New York State Certified Teacher, an instructional assistant, and may only have a maximum of 18 students. The program implements a comprehensive, age-appropriate curriculum which integrates all subject areas, and is aligned with the New York State Pre-K Learning Standards. Most of the UPK students in Half Hollow Hills transition easily into the same home school for kindergarten the following year.

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