Sarasota County Schools is getting its first full time Pre-K class as part of the start of school on Monday morning.
Eighteen 4-year-olds will spend the entire school day in Andrea Castano's classroom at Gocio Elementary. It's part of three-year pilot project to see if getting a high-quality preschool education helps kids do better in school overall.
At the end of second grade the kids will be take an assessment test to measure the impact of starting school at an early age.
Principal Steve Royce is excited to have the program at his school.
"It's going to be a great opportunity for the school to say what is the impact on early education and does it make a difference in children's lives?” Royce said. “We believe it does, but it's going to be great to prove this model."
Castano has taught preschoolers for seven years. She's excited to start the program at Gocio.
"It gives them a leg up it really prepares them for kindergarten, not just academically, but socially and emotionally,” Castano said.
This pilot project costs around $700,000. Tampa Bay area philanthropists Joe and Mary Kay Henson funded the project.
After the three years, the district will determine whether to continue the program and how to pay for it.