Big Walnut to hold preschool lottery


SUNBURY — While it may be the middle of the 2022-23 school year at Big Walnut Local Schools, it’s also time for some to plan for 2023-24, especially parents of students in the class of 2036.

Big Walnut started its 2023-2024 Preschool Lottery last week. It is open until Feb. 10, with the drawing taking place on Feb. 13, the district said on Facebook.

The preschool program “serves children with disabilities, while also providing an educational opportunity for typically developing children to serve as social and academic peer models,” the district said.

To be eligible, a child must be 4 years old on or before Aug. 1, fully potty-trained, and live within the Big Walnut Local School District. The classrooms are staffed by a teacher and an assistant, with a maximum of 16 students (up to eight students with disabilities). There is a tuition cost, but some families may qualify for free or reduced tuition.

If selected in the lottery, students will attend preschool four days a week, either in a morning or afternoon session of about two-and-a-half hours in the Early Learning Center, 70 Harrison St., Sunbury.

Those parents eligible to enter the lottery may do so at

“All learning opportunities are designed to help children enter kindergarten prepared and ready to learn,” the district said. “The expectation is for (the) student to enroll in kindergarten — if they are turning five on or before Aug. 1.”

The 2023-24 kindergarten enrollment period will run from Feb. 21 to March 24. To enroll, visit

Parents have the option to enroll their kids in either half-day kindergarten (morning or afternoon) at each elementary building (based on enrollment) or full-day tuition-based kindergarten (8:45 a.m.-3:35 p.m.). The full-day classes include lunch and a recess break mid-day. Transportation will be provided if the child is not assigned to their home school.

For those doing the half-day class, students will attend an arts class every four days. For those attending all day, there will be a daily arts class, in addition to the core curriculum. This class will either be arts, music, physical education or STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

“Academic interventions will be a priority to remediate and keep students on track,” the district said of the half-day class. The full-day class allows students to “have more time and opportunities for increased personalization, intervention and enrichment.”

The building at 70 Harrison St. in Sunbury used to be an elementary school. Now it is the Early Learning Center. building at 70 Harrison St. in Sunbury used to be an elementary school. Now it is the Early Learning Center. Gary Budzak | The Gazette

By Gary Budzak

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Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at the above email address.

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