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SciTech adding science-based kindergarten

Carter Betkis McKenzie Gordset table preschool SciTech Hands On Museum.

Carter Betkis and McKenzie Gordon set the table at the preschool at SciTech Hands On Museum.

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Updated: April 2, 2013 6:30AM

AURORA — When SciTech Hands on Museum began a preschool program last year in their historic downtown Aurora building, they knew it was something special. The preschool program is the only one in the city, state and possibly the country that focuses on STEM-based curriculum.

Teaching 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds the basic concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is the basis of the STEM preschool program. And SciTech has done it so well that the parents of graduating preschoolers were hard-pressed to say goodbye to the program.

Parents just didn’t want their children to leave the STEM curriculum, said Julie Bauman, educational director at SciTech. Bauman was hired last August to run the preschool program.

At the behest of many parents, Bauman saw it as a no-brainer to begin offering a kindergarten program at SciTech, at 18 W. Benton St. The new kindergarten program will welcome several of the graduating preschoolers and is open to 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds.

While continuing its preschool program, SciTech will welcome kindergartners starting Aug. 5. The kindergarten program offers half-day and full-day enrollment as well as extended after-school care until 6 p.m.

Bauman said the school is licensed for 20 kindergartners and the teacher ratio is one to six children. They are bringing on a state-certified teacher for the kindergarten program.

The preschoolers and the kindergartners will both share space on the building’s west end. Preschool starts for the fall on Sept. 1.

SciTech’s kindergarten curriculum again will be STEM-based and will include Zoo-phonics, an interactive animal-centric reading system; math, art and Spanish taught with American sign language for reinforcement.

“I’m hoping that this will expand the program and make everyone a little more aware that we are over here in Aurora. I think that preschool is really important and the level of education that we are providing is excellent,” Bauman said.

From 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Friday, SciTech is offering a free family science activity night for parents and children between the ages of 3 and 8.

For information on SciTech’s preschool and kindergarten programs, and tuition or scholarship information, call 630-859-3434, ext. 220.

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