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South Peru School to offer Head Start

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Mar. 21—WABASH — Peru Community Schools will move its Head Start classrooms to South Peru School starting next school year.

It’s the first step in a two-year plan in reopening South Peru School. The move is meant to increase child care options in Peru.

Moving Head Start to South Peru School will allow Peru schools to increase the number of classrooms from three to four. There are about 20 kids per class.

Head Start, federally funded preschool for children of low-income families, had been housed at Elmwood Elementary School but was at capacity.

Moving Head Start was approved Monday by the Peru School Board in a meeting at the Heartland Career Center in Wabash.

With Head Start vacating Elmwood, it frees up space to add an additional class of kindergarten, first and second grade.

“We’re expecting more students next year,” said Superintendent Jaime Cole.

That’s partially due to a new housing complex, Wabash River Commons, that started leasing earlier this year.

The 26-acre property near the Miami County YMCA offers traditional apartments, duplexes and senior living. A representative of Wabash River Commons said the complex was at about 50-55% capacity, earlier this month.

Cole said Elmwood’s preschool classes will move to South Peru School for the 2025-26 school year. This will also open more classroom space for kindergarten, first and second grade classes.

Child care will also be added for the 2025-26 school year. South Peru once had an early child care center.

Preschool and child care for children aged 0 to 3 are pressing needs in Miami County and have been for some time. That need is only expected to increase — for Peru, Miami County and the region as a whole — with the development of EV battery plants and its suppliers in Kokomo.

The influx of jobs is expected to bring upward of 3,000 people to the area. Many will have children and need homes to live in — another need for area communities.

Reopening South Peru School for early education is a proactive move for Peru schools to accommodate current residents and those expected to move to town.

South Peru School currently houses the Miami Adult Education Center, gymnastics for the YMCA, a community health clinic and C.C.’s Closet, a clothing pantry.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.

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