DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools is seeking funding from the Des Moines City Council for an expansion of its preschool programming.

If granted the funding, DMPS would add six more full-day preschool classrooms — potentially adding 120 students.

Susie Guest, DMPS’s Early Childhood Programs Administrator, said that preschool is crucial in developing children’s academic skills.

“We have data that shows through 5th grade that students who attended preschool they actually are better prepared for their elementary grades and those results don’t slide,” Guest said.

The majority of preschool programming DMPS offers is half-day. The potential expanded classrooms would all be full-day programming. Guest said that full-day preschool and wrap-around care helps marginalized communities especially.

“With half-day programming a lot of our parents, it’s a challenge for a lot of our parents because they can’t transport in the middle of the day, and also it becomes costly to provide the rest of that wrap-around care for the rest of the day,” Guest said.

The added full-day preschool classrooms would also be reserved for families that need it most.

“We are looking to increase the number of full-day slots that we have with wrap-around care for our most marginalized children and that would be those that their families at 200% of poverty or below,” Guest said.

The City Council is expected to decide if it will grant DMPS the requested funding at its next meeting.