All DeKalb County Pre-K Classes Full This Year

September 1, 2008
Dwayne Page
Pre-K Teacher Jennifer Peek with Students at SES
Pre-K Students at Smithville Elementary

All pre kindergarten classes are full this year, but you can have your named placed on a waiting list if or when there is a vacancy.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade says around 100 students are being served by the pre-k program this year. "Several years ago we were able to receive a pre-k program. It was referred to as a pilot program. We received that at Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School. At that time, we could take three and four year olds into the programs. With the success that was shown across the state with the pre-k programs, we were able to expand. At the present time we have four pre-k classrooms at Smithville Elementary and one at DeKalb West School. We have completely filled our classrooms for this school year and we're really excited about that because all the children are coming in, we're all starting at the same time of the year, and the teachers are getting to know an entire class. It's just absolutely wonderful that our community has taken advantage of the pre-k programs. We had several packets picked up on registration day that have not been returned to us. Even though our classrooms are completely full we have started a waiting list and that simply means that when you turn in your application, your child's name will go on a list, and if we have a spot to open up in the pre-k classrooms, we will call the parents on that list and ask them if they would like to add their child to the class at that time."

Burklow says all instructors are certified and the curriculum is well structured. "We can have up to 20 students in a classroom. All of our pre-k teachers are certified. They hold a teaching certificate in pre-k. They also do the 30 hours of in-service, professional development training each year. They are CPR and first aid trained and certified. As far as our educational assistants, we do have to keep a one to ten ratio in the pre-k classrooms so each classroom has an educational assistant. The educational assistant is highly qualified under No Child Left Behind guidelines. The first year that they are with us, they complete 18 hours of training. After that first initial year then they only have to complete 12 hours of training, but they too are CPR and first aid certified. Just like the regular school day, our pre-k day is the same. The children are given an opportunity to ride the bus each day. We have a seven hour day. We have an "OWL" curriculum, it's called "Opening the World of Learning" that we use as our main curriculum. We have the letter people, which is introducing the alphabet to the children through puppets and inflatable people. We also use Frog Street Press as supplements to this curriculum. Concerning the pre-k curriculum, the children are not at a table all day long. The state requires that the children go to centers and are given an opportunity to choose a center for two and a half hours a day. They may decide to go to dramatic play or they may decide to go to blocks or an art activity. They may choose to do a puzzle. So there's two and a half hours a day that the children choose what they would like to go into and to socialize with their peers."

For more information, call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107, Clay Farler at 215-2101, or call Smithville Elementary or DeKalb West School.

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