Classes are aimed at helping kids have fun, learn language and social skills, and helping them develop into students ready for full-on kindergarten when the time comes.
One of the advantages of having a preschool right on an elementary school campus is that kids don’t have to fear the transition, said Diane Mohn, a retired school administrator hired as a consultant to design the preschool curriculum.
Teachers make sure to have many of the same routines, the same terminology, and even some of the same things to play with, so kids aren’t daunted on the first day of school, she said.
That came out loud and clear when the kids met this week, teachers’ assistant Joanne Tillehkooh said.
“I saw a lot of [them] hugging their new friends,” she said.
Unlike attendance at the elementary schools, tuition at the preschools isn’t free.
Depending on how many days per week the child attends, it ranges from $185 to $430 each month. But that makes the program possible under the district’s budget constraints, Mohn said, adding that the district was working to keep those rates competitive.
Back at Wells’ classroom, she showed a younger class of preschoolers her own room’s highlights, from a spot full of costumes to play dress up to the science center, where butterflies just emerged from their cocoons and were set free — except for a couple of stragglers.
“Here’s Nemo,” she told the kids, pointing to a butterfly with a broken wing.
“He’s not ready to fly with that wing. This butterfly came out of this cocoon. You can all touch it later.”
The subtle aim of the program came home a bit later, when the letter of the day was announced: K.
“That stands for kindergarten!” Wells said.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT PRESCHOOL?
“I like going outside to play house.”
“I like playing inside, with the farm. You get to pretend all the animals can talk.”
“I like playing games. Puzzles. My favorite [puzzle] is Belle [from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast].”
MICHAEL ALEXANDER may be reached at (714) 966-4618 or at email@example.com.