Brain development occurs at a fast pace during the first five years of a child’s life. In fact, by the time a child turns 5, his or her brain is about 90 percent the size of an adult’s.

Children are sponges that are constantly absorbing new information. Kids pick up on everything from their ABCs to social cues.

Educational research has overwhelmingly documented the benefits of children entering school before kindergarten.

These are a few of the reasons it is so exciting that the Lake Geneva School District is launching a 3-year-old preschool program.

The program, which is set to start this fall, will be run by a licensed, trained teacher inside the Lake Geneva school system. This educator will help foster and develop these young minds. It also will provide assistance to moms and dads who need help with child care. This new program will nicely complement the school district’s other early childhood education efforts.

The school will not be offering the program for free, but the costs are reasonable and similar to most day care facilities.

A partnership with the Geneva Lake Family YMCA will provide additional child care prior to and after the preschool program, which will help working parents.

For area parents who struggle with child care decisions, this program will provide a viable new option.

By participating in the program, children will become familiar with the Lake Geneva School District at an earlier age.

They will likely have an opportunity to meet adults who will be their teachers in the future. Those teachers, in turn, will have an opportunity to meet and interact with their future students.

That familiarity will only help the child. In other Wisconsin school districts, where 3- and 4-year-olds learn in the same environment, teachers and principals see clear benefits.

In some cases, the same curriculum is used for 3-year-old students as for 4-year-old kindergarten.

In the Howard-Suamico School District, the “Creative Curriculum” is used for both ages. In the Chippewa Falls School District, 3-year-old children are exposed to the “Pyramid Model for Developing Social and Emotional Intelligence.” That same curriculum is used throughout high school, according to the Department of Public Instruction.

Students in special education classes also benefit, and teachers can intervene earlier.

We would like to give the school district a kudos for expanding its offerings. This new program will benefit parents and children.

The Lake Geneva Regional News editorial board consists of general manager Robert Ireland, editor Scott Williams and community members Elizabeth Lupo-DiVito and Patrick Quinn.