Pre-kindergarten classes are provided at Oakland Heights Elementary, Crestwood Elementary, Parkview Elementary, Poplar Springs Elementary, T. J. Harris Elementary, and West Hills Elementary. Through a collaborative agreement, the Meridian Housing Authority provides space for pre-kindergarten classes at Frank Berry, Eastern Gardens, Western Gardens, and Magnolia Courts. Students qualifying for the pre-kindergarten classes must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1.
Instruction is provided by certified teachers and highly qualified teacher assistants. Full day classes begin at 7:45 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. Parents must provide transportation to/from sites since state law prohibits the school district from transporting children under 5 years of age. The classes follow the state pre-kindergarten curriculum, the Mississippi Early Learning Guidelines for Three and Four Year Old Children.
Classrooms use the visually stimulating centers based design. Children rotate among centers that are themed according to subjects. Teachers use computer-based programs that introduce children to reading, mathematics, and science concepts. Students receive self-paced instruction on phonics, comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary concepts.
Ongoing and specific performance standards data are automatically collected and used to guide instruction at every level; small group, class, and individual. To measure the overall impact of the pre-kindergarten program, structured assessments are given that include pre- and post tests using DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills).
Pre-Kindergarten Philosophy and Goals for Four-Year-Old Children
The early childhood years are a critical time in the development for every child. The learning that takes place during the first eight years of life serves as the foundation for all later academic, social, emotional, physical and motor development. All children are capable of learning and meeting developmental milestones. Therefore, the Early Learning Guidelines are proposed to assist all early childhood educators in their efforts to provide a high quality research-based program serving pre-kindergarten children at 4 years of age.
All children attending a pre-kindergarten program should:
1. improve their self-concept;
2. increase their intellectual growth;
3. enlarge their understanding of the world, people, experiences, ideas;
4. increase competencies and skills in oral language, literacy, writing, listening, and thinking;
5. increasing their competencies and skills in mathematical reasoning and scientific exploration;
6. increase their skills involved in physical coordination and gross and fine motor skills;
7. increase their competence in dealing with emotional feelings and social situations;
8. increase their self-direction and independence;
9. develop cooperative, trusting relationships;
10. develop their natural curiosity and creative potential; and
11. develop a love of learning.
The Early Learning Guidelines outlined in this document are built on scientifically-based principles. The following principles should be reflected in the learning environment and curriculum in the classroom:
1. Skills and concepts specific to developmental domains developed by the Mississippi Department of Education are foundational to all instruction.
a. English Language Arts
c. Social Studies
e. Approaches to Learning
f. Social and Emotional Development
g. Physical Development
h. Creative Expression
2. Learning activities are constructed which acknowledge children advance through similar stages of development, but at individual rates.
3. Children are in an inclusive learning environment that embraces diversity.
4. Children use their senses in the instructional process (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling).
5. Active involvement (exploring, playing, manipulating, and problem solving) is the primary strategy for delivering instruction.
6. Children are taught using a combination of instructional strategies, which includes active involvement in learning centers, participating in large and small group instruction and individual instructional settings.
7. Attitudes and examples from teachers and content in lessons taught reflect a positive problem solving approach. Therefore, attention should be given to instructional methods, emotional climate, environment, and educator-child interaction.
8. Children have experiences that are sensitive to the value of play, for it is through play that children create their own meaning and learning.
The majority of the instructional delivery must be organized around learning centers and responsive interactions among children, and their peers and adults. These experiences should provide opportunities for children to acquire skills and concepts through hands-on engaged learning while the teacher is facilitating appropriate language development through conversations.
Please see Related Documents section for futher information.