Twenty percent of kindergarteners don’t receive preschool education and the Charles City Community School District is aiming to change that by offering tuition-free preschool for four-year-olds beginning this fall.
The District will offer statewide voluntary preschool program for all 4-year-olds beginning this fall and families are already eager to participate.
Currently, the District is serving 30 preschool students in two classrooms. Kara Shannon, Washington Elementary School Principal says, “We have 15-20 students on a waiting list every year who often go unserved. With this change, we can serve 60-80 students.”
Families will choose between a morning or afternoon preschool. The preschool day will include academic centers, small group work, snacks, library, and recess. Students involved in the preschool program will have special opportunities like field trips, assemblies, and programs like the older buddy system, which benefits preschool and older elementary students. Class sizes will not exceed 20 students in a section.
Shannon notes the seamless link from the new preschool offerings and kindergarten. “The alignment between the public preschool and the kindergarten teachers is huge. We teach kindergarten readiness skills students need to make sure they will be successful and enter Kindergarten with an advantage. If we want a Kindergarten teacher to visit a preschool classroom, they are just down the hall.”
This Charles City preschool team has a plethora of staff experience. West has run the preschool for 24 years, alongside Lynne Feller who has been a preschool teacher for 22 years. Included in the preschool teaching staff is Mollie Ott & Kim Weigle. All four teachers have Early Childhood Education degrees. Feller, Ott and Weigle also have Early Childhood Special Education degrees. Together these teachers make up what Shannon calls “an incredible team of public preschool teaching staff”. The preschool also received their highest level of national accreditation ever, receiving 100% on every standard and exceeding expectations in several areas.
For parents who question if their child is ready for preschool, West has this to say: “Our goal is to get every student ready for kindergarten. The school is ready for the student, the student doesn’t have to be ready for preschool.”
The school already has 16 students enrolled and one class nearly full. Shannon notes that applications are being accepted on a first come, first served basis. “Get your applications in early, call us with questions now. We want as many students to get the educational advantage they deserve by being a part of our preschool program.”
“Everyone deserves a quality education,” notes West. “This is a free and public service now. We’ve been a preschool; now we are opening it up to fulfill the needs of more families.”
Parents with questions can contact Brenda West or Kara Shannon at Washington Elementary School at (641) 257-6570 and arrange to visit the preschool for one-on-one visits.
Download tuition free registration form