5/30/2013 3:45:00 PM Investing in Pre-Kindergarten
During the past school year, the Chisago Lakes Board of Education made a decision to support an investment in Community Education’s Little Wildcats Preschool program by providing a scholarship program, helping to prepare our youngest learners to be successful in Kindergarten. This spring, the Minnesota State Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton also recognized the importance of preparing our youngest learners and addressing the state’s daunting achievement gap as they made an investment of $46 million in quality pre-kindergarten early learning scholarships for Minnesota’s most vulnerable children.
These investments build on the research-based scholarship model developed by the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation which also forms the foundation of the state’s successful federal the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. The Legislature’s investment is part of an innovative approach to prepare more children for success in school by helping Minnesota’s youngest children access high quality early learning programs proven to improve school readiness outcomes. The new legislation aligns with outcomes that the Little Wildcats Preschool program has shown. The data we now have clearly indicates that students enrolled in our preschool program begin their kindergarten year ready to learn. The dollars that the legislature has committed will allow us to reach out to more Chisago Lakes Area families who might need assistance paying for the Little Wildcats Preschool fees or providing transportation to get their students to school. Both Taylors Falls Elementary and Primary School have Little Wildcats Preschool classes in both morning and afternoon sessions. As an added benefit to families, children attending Little Wildcats Preschool can now attend the Chisago Lakes Kids Club School Age Care program, which allows these preschoolers to be in school or childcare for a full school day every day! The Little Wildcats Preschool and Kids Club programs have earned ratings as “4 Star” Parent Aware Programs.
How the Preschool Scholarships Work The scholarships will be available to all 3 and 4 year olds, and the new legislation will help families of nearly 9,000 Minnesota children send their children to a “Parent Aware-rated” quality early learning program of their choice in their community. It will also help providers improve and expand quality early learning programs throughout the state. As a district, we have made a commitment to ensure we are meeting the needs of all kids, in every neighborhood of our communities. Scholarships do this by improving access to quality preschool education and care in each community, giving parents the chance to choose the quality program that best meets their needs and prepares their child for lifelong success. This Minnesota legislation is a critical first step toward our goal of ensuring that all children in our district – regardless of family income or geographic location – have the opportunity to attend a quality early learning program that meets their needs and prepares them for lifelong success in school and beyond.
Little Wildcats Preschool is designed to prepare children and families for the transition to kindergarten. This program focuses on pre-reading, writing, and communication skills, number awareness and social skills. Licensed teachers and classroom assistants provide daily large group activities, focused small group activities, a snack time, and individual choice time at learning centers in the classroom. Standardized Assessments are used to insure that children are on track for school success. The Little Wildcats Preschool literacy curriculum is aligned with the curriculum of the Chisago Lakes elementary schools. Little Wildcats Preschool offers classes at two elementary school sites in the Chisago Lakes School District. Two and three days-a-week classes are available mornings and afternoons. Our Preschool Usually follows the Chisago Lake School district’s calendar. Registrations are being accepted now for the 2013-14 school year - by phone, mail, or the District website at www.chisagolakes.k12.mn.us. Call 651-213-2600 or 651-213-2062 for more information. The Kids Club School-Age Care Program is a self supporting program which is a service of the Chisago Lakes Area Schools Community Education Department, providing before and after school care for K-5 students, and school day care for Pre-K and Kindergarten students. The program provides quality child care in an environment that is safe, nurturing, fun and reliable.
At Kids Club the focus is placed on the needs of the individual child. Children in our program have the opportunity to choose from a variety of activities including sports, arts & crafts, puzzles, and games. Quiet areas are also available for homework and reading. In addition to our child-oriented classroom, we use the gymnasium, playground, and baseball field and computer lab. To enroll in Kids Club, all children must be pre-registered. A minimum of three days from completing the forms to beginning sessions is required prior to attendance. Registration materials are available at the Kids Club Office located at 13289 St. Croix Avenue, Lindstrom or on the district’s website at www.chisagolakes.k12.mn.us. Snacks will be provided during the Kindergarten and Pre-K sessions and will be available for purchase before and after school for K-5 students. Students may also bring snacks from home. Call 651-213-2600 or 651-213-2495 for more information.