KinderSprouts public preschool program to open in fall 2024

May 15, 2024

Karen Ogden
Communications Officer
Helena Public Schools
406-324-2002 (o); 406-788-4375 (c)

Free screenings offered now through June for interested families


HELENA – Helena Public Schools is now conducting free screenings for “KinderSprouts” – a public preschool program starting this fall.

Created under House Bill 352 passed by the 2023 Legislature, KinderSprouts is an early literacy intervention program for four-year-olds. The Legislature funded the program with the aim of ensuring that all Montana students have the opportunity to become proficient readers by the third grade.

Students must be four years of age by September 10 to participate and, as required by House Bill 352, must be admitted via a screening process to determine whether they would benefit from early literacy intervention.

The district uses the Acadience PELI screening tool to determine eligibility. The PELI identifies students who would benefit from extra support in areas such as alphabet knowledge, vocabulary and oral language, phonological awareness, and listening comprehension, which are the building blocks of reading.

“The program is designed to help four-year-olds develop the skills they need for a successful start to kindergarten,” said Kaitlyn Hess, Helena Public Schools Data and Assessment Administrator. “There is strong research showing that a solid start to kindergarten serves as a spring board for reading progress through the early elementary grades, which in turn leads to long-term academic success all the way through graduation.”

Students will participate in half-day morning or afternoon sessions Monday through Friday. Program locations will be determined after the screening period ends in June and enrollment is known.

“We’re excited to offer our community this opportunity to make sure that every child can start school with the solid footing they need to excel,” said Hess. “If you think your child would benefit from KinderSprouts, please schedule a screening as soon as possible to determine if they’re eligible to enroll this fall.”

Families are encouraged to register for a screening as soon as possible. To register or learn more, visit or call 406-324-2047.