Sunday, April 1, 2012

PdC Early Programs

Quality childhood experiences are important for school readiness as dispositions for learning and executive functioning skills are refined in the early years – that is just common sense. In addition, research studies are showing positive academic achievement links between early and often intervention and the importance of building early literacy (and numeracy) skills – see previous blog entry for more information on one slice of this.

At PdC Public Schools, we have put this in practice and have made quality early learning experiences a priority. Excellent programs are available to all four-year-olds (by 9/1) in our district for parents that desire the educational services. We offer 4K in both half-day and full-day options. Our staff has done a tremendous job with the new full-day-every-day-4K; the parental feedback and growth in this program has been wonderful. As with any new program, we had to do some tweaks. For example, we had to add five more bathroom stools. Our people have made this work and this success is to be celebrated. On the academic achievement side, the dividends are starting to flow in as the gains from all of 4K are improving. Plus, all those smiles on those kids, having a great time in a fun, safe, and positive educational environment, is truly wonderful and contagious!

In the three and four year old age band we offer the Special Education Early Childhood (EC) program. For these young children with disabilities, it is important that they are to receive services in Least Restrictive Environments (LRE) while learning with typically developing peers. Our EC staff has done a great job of incorporating activities with the full-day-4K to fulfill LRE.

We are continuing to discuss how we make these programs even better. The overarching goal of our early education programs is to narrow or eliminate early achievement gaps. By doing this, we can actually save money. Early education/intervention is an investment and a long-term strategy for success; as opposed to playing catch-up which is expensive and far less successful. It makes economic and educational sense to advocate for early programming. We want to get kids above the bar and keep them there. Future blog posts will look at some improvement options/dreams that have been kicked around internally.

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