The Scotland County R-I Early Childhood Integrated Program has been hopping with activity this semester. Spring is always a busy season and the preschool classes are definitely keeping their calendar full. After returning from Winter Break, teachers started preparing for a variety of events.
The full calendar started with hosting Donuts for Dads on February 8th. A total of 53 dads, grandpas, etc. were served and enjoyed watching the students interact with their guests.
On February 29th, the program kicked off a two-week unit to celebrate Dr. Seuss. Students and teachers participated in theme days such as Mismatch Monday, Favorite Character Tuesday, Wacky Hair Wednesday, and Wocket in My Pocket Thursday. To further celebrate their love of reading, teachers organized guest readers to read to the students each day. Guest readers included several community members, family members and staff members.
“This is such a wonderful way for the students to see some of their favorite people making stories come alive for them,” said Erin Tallman, SCR-I Special Services Director. “A huge thank you goes out to all our guest readers.”
Students explored outer space and the solar system on March 7th during the Planetarium Dome Theater experience. Students sat inside an air-filled dome to learn about space exploration.
On March 10th, the program hosted Pre-K Moonlight School for all preschool aged families. The theme for the evening was STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and children had the opportunity to work with hands on activities such as Design & Build, Freeze & Find, Rainbow in a Jar, and SMART math. The event drew 42 parents and 41 students for the fun. Students built interesting designs using clay and popsicle sticks, learned about molecule weights in different types of liquid, explored what happens if you try to paint ice and worked with math manipulatives on both the SMART board and in real life to tackle math concepts.
Scotland County hosted the annual preschool and kindergarten screening on March 19, 2016. A total of 91 children were screened in developmental areas of hearing, vision, language, motor and cognitive skills. Staff members collected students’ heights and weights. Parents were able to register their child for kindergarten this fall and received information for enrollment and summer school. Parents as Teachers educators were available to review the screening information with parents and answer questions.
Teachers have started a parent-child create your own masterpiece activity. The teachers have sent home blank items including a heart, book cover, 100 day celebration, and an Easter egg. Parents and students have worked together to create their own unique masterpiece. The teachers have displayed these items in the classroom.
“This has opened the door for students to explain and share their creations with their friends and be proud of their work,” said Tallman.
Other notable activities have included Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s celebrations and a unit on Fairy Tales. One classroom even built a castle. Students learned about same and different as they discussed the different characters and story lines in a variety of fairy tales. Students used fairy tale puppets to re-create stories with their friends and built their own castles with Magna Tiles and blocks.
“We are blessed with amazing therapists for Speech/Language, OT and PT who work to incorporate and carry over the themes into individual sessions,” said Tallman.. “Miss Davye always has vocabulary to challenge students to better understand and use their communication skills. On Groundhog Day, Miss Shelby’s class learned about shadows and students explored their own shadows! During Courtwarming. preschool students made their own banner and hung it to show their school spirit.”
As the school year winds down, upcoming events for the Early Childhood Integrated Program students include an Easter Egg Hunt (March 24th), Parent Teacher Conferences (March 21-24th), Muffins for Mom (May 8th) and concluding with the final fun filled day of Pre-School on May 12th.
“We’ve recently had the opportunity to hear some feedback and have been able to share some experiences with some of our families,” said Tallman. “We love hearing how our families feel about our program and looking for ways to make the experience even better.”
“The Early Childhood Program has really helped our daughter grow, academically and socially,” said Jacqui Onken. “Not only are we happy with her progress, but she absolutely loves going to learn and play. This is a great way to acclimate the kids before attending kindergarten.”
“Our daughter has learned so much and gained social skills that will continue to benefit her,” said Stacie Whitaker.
“The program has given our son a chance to socialize and make friends, which has benefited in being more outgoing and interactive with peers,” said Megan Trueblood. “We also feel that he has gained great base skills for kindergarten through attending the program.”
“My child has benefitted from the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program for 2 1/2 years now,” said Jennifer McMinn. “He had originally went for his preschool screening where it was determined he had a potential delay in his motor and self help performance areas. We then met as a team to discuss his scores and then further developed his Individualized Education Plan (IEP). He started preschool when he was 3 1/2 years old through the school and had Mrs. Shelby McAfee. When he started his motor scores were 69 and self help 69 . He has had physical therapy, occupational therapy and specialized instruction in the classroom to help better his fine and gross motor coordination, along with helping him become independent with dressing (coat, shoes) along with being able to manage his clothes while toileting. His scores this year, after being in the program for 2 1/2 years are now in the average range, 93. Many of you may think that he probably would have improved with time even if he hadn’t received these services, but I whole heartedly disagree. I am his mother, but I am also an Occupational Therapist and a Physical Therapist Assistant. I had tried having him do “therapy” at home, but he wasn’t progressing. The integrated program has been what made his scores improve and him be more successful with not only fine and gross motor coordination, but also with self help skills. He can now take his coat and shoes on and off, cut out shapes staying on the line, stand and hop on one foot, and so much more. But not only has his motor scores improved, but also his social skills have improved also. He has learned to pretend play and take turns with others. I cannot express through words enough gratitude and thanks I have for The ECSE program at SCR-1. My child has came so far with having had the opportunity to attend this program.”
“The preschool program has provided my child a great learning experience with great teachers,” said Jessica Brewer. “I feel she has learned much more in the 2 years she has attended than she would have at home. I also feel these activities the children do together (even as one large preschool class) has given her confidence, she might not have received if she had just stayed at home. It is nice to have the preschool program available in our county. My daughter thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Steward the past 2 years.”
“The preschool program is the best,” said Pam Chance. “The teachers are fabulous to work with! I am so glad my daughter was able to go. She has learned so much, and I believe that gives her a head start at kindergarten. I truly wish the program would have been there for my son. I believe he would have had an easier experience going to kindergarten. For any one that thinks preschool is not a necessary program, they need to talk to the preschool moms and dads and see all the wonderful things they have to say and they will definitely have a change of heart! All the preschool teachers are the best! Thank you all!”
Any parent with a child ages 3-5 that wishes to place their child on the waiting list for the ECSE Integrated Program may call the elementary office at 660-465-8532.