Lexington-Richland School District Five is now accepting applications for its tuition-based 4-year-old kindergarten program.

The district is slated to expand its EXCEL (Exposing Children to Early Learning) 4K program next school year, with plans to offer it at River Springs Elementary School in addition to the original site at Irmo Elementary School. Applications are currently being accepted, and the program is available to any families living within the district regardless of school zone.

“District Five believes that all families should have access to quality 4-year-old kindergarten,” said Dr. Christina Melton, District Five’s Chief Instructional Officer. “This is not just childcare. We offer our 4-year-old students a high-quality educational experience, including certified teachers, standards-based curriculum, ability-based instruction and special area classes. The program is a continuation of our efforts to make sure our community’s needs are met and students achieve success throughout their academic careers.”

The EXCEL 4K program has been offered at Irmo Elementary School for several years, and the new planned site at River Springs Elementary will mark an expansion of the District Five program. School officials say growing EXCEL 4K will give more families in the district an opportunity to see the program’s benefits and impacts on students.

“We are excited to offer the EXCEL program at our school,” said River Springs Elementary Principal Melanie Cohen. “We know that students who discover a love of learning early on have the strong foundation that follows them throughout their educational career. River Springs Elementary is proud to develop lifelong learners and extend that to 4-year-olds through the EXCEL 4K program.”

Irmo Elementary School Principal Tina McCaskill added, “EXCEL 4K really is about getting students socially and emotionally ready for school. Students and parents leave the program more confident and ready for their first day of kindergarten.”

Pictured: District Five EXCEL 4K teacher Carianne Johnson talks with students as part of the class’ daily routine. The district is planning to expand its tuition-based 4-year-old kindergarten program for the upcoming school year. Currently housed at Irmo Elementary School, the district’s EXCEL (Exposing Children to Early Learning) is slated to also be available at River Springs Elementary School next fall.