The Voluntary Pre-K Classroom
Voluntary Pre-kindergarten: Planting Seeds for Future Success!
- When families are an integral part of a school program, children's self-esteem and achievement are enhanced.
- The foundation of literacy learning in Pre-K is a print-rich environment that allows children to practice literacy skills in real-life experiences, along with purposeful teaching of key concepts.
- We must meet children where they are and challenge them to progress.
- In offering respect for children’s abilities and differences.
- Supporting child interests and individual learning needs through intentional and varied approaches leads to learning.
- Quality Pre-K is based on teacher knowledge of how children learn and develop—active, engaged, meaningful, and within developmental sequences.
- Recognizing the importance of play as a tool for developing self-regulation, as well as promoting cognition, language, and social competence skills is a requirement for Pre-K.
- Providing a classroom environment that is inviting, safe, and engaging with designated areas for exploration and content integration will lead to further learning.
What does a Voluntary Pre-K class look like?
In a VPre-K class, you will find 20 children in a play-based classroom environment involved in active, hands-on learning. Teachers plan and deliver high-quality instructional activities for the children to learn through participation in both a large and small group setting. Each classroom has a certified classroom teacher and a teaching assistant, with a minimum of an early childhood credential. Both the teacher and assistant attend 30 or more hours of professional learning each year.
What curriculum is used in the Voluntary Pre-K classroom?
Teachers use Connect4Learning as the primary curriculum. “Effective family engagement is an important part of C4L. The curriculum includes special events to invite families into the classroom, so children can share what they are learning and experiencing. C4L's Online Portal is a valuable communication tool for families to use to keep track of children's progress. When families have up-to-date knowledge of what their children are exploring at school, they are more likely to continue the learning at home.”
In addition, VPre-K classrooms use “Keeping Kids Safe” to teach personal safety. “Keeping Kids Safe” takes a holistic approach to the safety of children. The curriculum is composed of the following 6 Units ¨ Self Esteem ¨Family and Friends ¨ Feelings ¨ Problem Solving ¨ Personal Safety ¨ Safety Around Me. All sessions begin with Group Time. Spot, the Dalmatian, sometimes introduces story time and gathers children to the story area. Following the story is a list of supplementary activities that give children practice in understanding the concepts. Each classroom will offer two parent sessions aligned to the “Keeping Kids Safe” curriculum for families, including “Communication” and “Child Abuse”.
What does a typical Voluntary Pre-K schedule look like?
8:00-8:20 Welcome and Read Aloud
8:20-9:20 Centers and Small Groups
9:20-9:40 Connect: An introduction or review of concepts or games featured in Small Group
11:00-11:30 Outdoor Play
11:50-12:45 Centers and Small Groups
12:45-1:00 Fast Focus: Short games, songs, and gross-motor activities to reinforce the learning for the day.
Can we take a tour of the Voluntary Pre-K classroom?
Families are asked to attend school registration night in late July/early August so they may meet the teachers and see the classroom prior to the first day of school. A parent orientation will also be held during phase-in week. In addition, some VPre-K sites may offer scheduled tours of their classrooms. Visit VPre-K school websites and calendars for more information and upcoming dates.
What can we do to prepare for Voluntary Pre-K?
Whether your child is accepted into the program or not, all families are encouraged to sign up for Imagination Library. Children from birth to age 5 qualify, and each child within your household can be registered. These are outstanding books that come to your child monthly, free of charge.
In addition, please sign up for KidCentralTN to learn the latest tools and information on children’s health, safety, education, and development.
How can families get involved?
Family involvement is key to a child’s success! To be selected for the VPre-K classroom, families agree to attend registration, family orientation, and two family conferences. Families are also encouraged to attend the four family engagement nights throughout the year, including the two about “Keeping Kids Safe”.
Beyond these events, families can volunteer in the classroom or on fieldtrips. Families are also needed to create materials, plan events, and serve on the Community Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Council. Once your child is selected for the VPre-K classroom, please reach out to your child’s teacher to find out how you can be involved.
What if I have questions about Voluntary Pre-K?
If you have questions about VPre-K before enrolling in the program, it is best to reach out to the Office of Voluntary Pre-K. Once enrolled, families are encouraged to communicate directly with teachers. If a concern arises that cannot be agreed upon with the teacher, the school principal is available to answer questions and resolve any unanswered challenges.
If you have questions about the Developmental Delays Pre-K or Typical Peers, please contact Mrs. Laurie Phillips.