Script-Three-and Four-Year-Old Pre-K Program at Grenada Elementary School

One more time on one more word.
You ready? SCHOOL.
That is beautiful!
Pre-K Director/K-1 Multi-Age Teacher, GES
We started this out as a dream from Dr. Daigneault, that he understood the importance of early childhood. And when he came to me saying we were going to start a four-year-old program, he promised it would stay developmentally appropriate, which means that the children learn lots of skills through play and hands-on activities. It's very important for them to learn the academic skills, but it's also important for them to learn the social skills, that they learn how to work with other children, share with other children, and interact with different adults besides their parents. And our program has been very successful on that. Out of my 13 kindergarteners this year, 11 came through our program. And they came knowing all their letters sounds, all their letters. They could write their names. Their comprehension skills were great. So I've had to work extra hard to keep moving them on. Each week we have a different thematic unit, and we try to incorporate that into it.

Pre-K Teacher, GES
One thing we are doing this week, we're having Bear Week. So they children actually brought their teddy bears from home. And so they take their teddy bears to the library center, and they're actually reading to their bears. They can read sight words. Within the book, they're finding words, and they get excited because they actually know the words that are in the book. They are also using the teddy bears in the block area, where they're actually building the habitats for the bears to live in. So we do incorporate cooking. We have lots of art activities that we do. We try to do at least two art activities each week. We try to have the children write about their art activity, whether it's them just telling us and we write it for them, or the children that are capable of writing their own sentence write it themselves. And they just love dancing, and anytime you put anything to music, the kids tend to learn it quicker and faster.

PAULY OAKES: It's helped with our discipline. You can see a big difference with the children that have gone through our Pre-K program. They're steps ahead of the children that have not. And they know what's expected of them. And they know they're going to get rewarded if they make those positive choices. And you see it in their work. You see it in their relationship with the other children. You see it in how they walk down the hall, being respectful of the other classes.

This year we were fortunate to add a three-year old class. I was very skeptical at first, but… Our three-year-olds are sounding out words. They are doing sight words. They are finishing different tasks with two or three directions. The social skills are amazing. They've learned to share and work as teams on different projects. It's amazing what they're capable of.

"Down. Up. Erase it."
"And what sounds does V make?"

CONNIE MINGA: We also offer a summer program for our children coming into the four-year-old and the ones that are already in the four-year-old program, which is a great opportunity because you can keep encouraging and moving on their academic skills so they don't lose anything with those two months over summer, but you're also connecting summer fun, which a lot of teachers don't get to do during the summer, by doing outdoor activities with them.

PAULY OAKES: At the end of last year, the state requires that we give some assessments to the children, and then we have to give them throughout the year. Our children's scores are through the roof. When they took the test before Christmas, most of them were showing the growth that they needed at the end of the year. It's telling us that what we're doing in our centers and in our classrooms are really helping the children. If we can give the children a strong foundation at this level, and know they're succeeding in those assessments right now, then it's the challenge for teachers in the future to pick them up where they're at and push them on.

"Hey, take a picture of me!"
-Kids laughing-
"It wasn't me!"