Mifflin school board wants preschoolers to learn basics early to help them later.
A student who starts kindergarten with some knowledge of shapes, colors and the alphabet is on the right track.
Gov. Mifflin School District officials are hoping a new program they're launching will mold more of their future students to fit that profile.
They're reaching out to parents of future Mifflin kindergartners and to preschool programs to share ideas for activities to help prepare children for school.
"We know that a child's education begins long before they enter our schools, so any involvement that we have or activities we can promote is beneficial," said Michael L. Saylor, the district's coordinator of assessment and instructional support.
Mifflin's demographics, he said, are shifting with more residents living in poverty and fewer children participating in preschool programs.
"We're noticing that the kids are coming to us not as ready (for kindergarten) as in years past, and we're also entering a time when common core state standards are being instituted and assessed, starting next year," he said. "So we're looking for opportunities to reach all our learners."
As part of that effort, district teachers will host two evening programs for preschool-age children and their parents. Families will be introduced to learning games they can play at home.
At the first, which is Wednesday, the focus will be on reading. At the second, the games will be math-related.
Parents also can schedule an appointment to have their child take a test that determines what types of learning activities they should focus on. There will be an interpreter for parents who speak Spanish.
At the evening programs, the Gov. Mifflin Preschool PTA will provide snacks and give parents books to read with their children.
"Any help that a child can have prior to enrollment is an advantage," said Jenny Semsel, the group's president.
Getting parents involved in their child's learning is vital to the child's success, she added.
Teachers also are inviting private preschool programs that feed into Mifflin schools to discuss what students can expect in kindergarten and how preschool teachers can help get them ready. They've already held one session and are planning another.
Kristin Orndorf from the Flying Hills Preschool in Cumru Township was one of the teachers who attended.
"I found it to be extremely helpful to see what they're doing in kindergarten," she said.
Coordination between kindergarten and preschool teachers creates an opportunity for a smoother transition for the children, Orndorf said.
By Liam Migdail-Smith
Source: Reading Eagle - http://goo.gl/Q0b9N