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Preschool Roundup at Clark Elementary successful
By Virginia Ekstrand
Mar. 9, 2023 12:34 pm
Early childhood education is undergoing rapid changes. Many remember the time when there was no kindergarten.
Gradually kindergarten became accepted as a half day of formal schooling.
In2007, then Gov. Chet Culver signed the bill which established the preschool program. In this day and age, it has to have an alphabetic acronym and is now known as SWVPP (Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program).
The purpose of the program is to provide opportunity for all young children in the state of Iowa to enter school ready to learn. It was recognized that many families could not afford private preschool programs. The program is both voluntary and free to all.
The bill reimburses schools for educating this extra population so that it can be offered with no charge to families everywhere in the state. The original bill stated that the preschool program had to provide at least 10 hours per week of developmentally appropriate instruction.
Schools must provide a certified teacher for their PreK programs. Clark Elementary offers an AM and a PM class for 4-and-5-year-olds eligible to start kindergarten the following year. However, many parents opt for their children to attend both a private and public preschool program.
Thursday, March 2 at 5:30 p.m., Clark Elementary opened its doors to prospective preschoolers and their families.
Originally it was intended that the meeting would take place the preschool room at Clark. The turnout was so large, though, that families were asked to meet in the cafeteria.
Mrs. Schumacher and Mrs. Strothman stayed at the preschool entrance to help families find their way to the cafeteria.
Mr. Palmatier, the principal, greeted everyone. He emphasized that safety of the children is paramount. If the children are attending the Community Child Care Center, they are walked back and forth by a teacher and are always supervised.
He also encouraged parents to use the bus transportation if necessary.
Brenda Heinhold, school secretary, explained the information sheet so she would have proper information to remain in contact with potential preschoolers.
Mrs. Williams, the school nurse, went over the health requirements. Only a recent physical and the up-to-date immunizations are required at this level but she emphasized that good health is essential to a successful school career.
Mrs. Schmacher, teacher, and Mrs. Strothman, preschool associate brought parents up to date on some of the curriculum such as Handwriting without Tears and Really Great Reading. They are looking for a great time with Class of 2037 (unofficial description).
The handouts provided will be very helpful to all parents as they decide whether to participate in the program.
One handout explained what a Creative Curriculum means for Preschool. The Scholastic organization provided a booklet which presented the Ultimate Guide to Preschool.
A helpful note visited with parents about seven preschool worries and how to deal with them.
Clark Club Preschool follows all the guidelines of appropriate early childhood education. There is a limit, however.
Each class can hold only 20 students and the class will be closed when that limit is reached. Since the classes are half day only, there will be no preschool on Wednesday.
Attendance guidelines required a separate sheet of explanation. Currently, school breakfast and lunch are not provided by the program.
Mrs. Schumacher made it clear that all preschoolers are welcome at the Clark back to school night. She encouraged everyone bring their supplies and to visit with her and Mrs. Strothman. Classes do not start until after Labor Day to give the teachers a chance to do the home visits.
As soon as possible, everyone exited the cafeteria for a visit to the preschool room and enjoy a chance to exchange view with other parents and ask question of the teachers.