Portage starts preschool program in elementary schools

2013-10-06T00:00:00Z Portage starts preschool program in elementary schoolsJill Stricker, executive director of Parents and Teachers Porter County nwitimes.com

Parents as Teachers of Porter County has partnered with Portage Township Schools, Porter County Community Foundation, Learning by Giving Foundation and United Way’s Success by 6, to provide “Ready, Set, Kindergarten (RSK)” programs in the eight elementary schools within PTS.

RSK is a program developed by Parents as Teachers and differs from traditional preschool, as it is more of a simulation of a school-year of kindergarten. RSK provides children who will enter kindergarten in the following school year a group setting to learn and practice skills need to be ready for school.

Kindergarten today looks more like yesterday’s first and second grade. Parents and educators are in agreement that preschool education helps children enter kindergarten ready to thrive with the social, emotional, cognitive and communication skills they need.

Still, in 2013, nearly half of kindergartners entering schools in many of our communities had no preschool experience. The statistics speak for themselves; for example, 60 percent of children entering school for the past three years in many of our community’s schools cannot pass initial readiness assessments. Imagine being the teachers in the class where 12 out of 20 students are not prepared to be in your classroom. Also, imagine what the classroom is like for the eight students who are prepared as the majority of attention is required for the unprepared students.

Increased economic challenges for many families coupled with increasing required state standards and mandatory testing make the need greater than ever for quality school readiness programs.

RSK supports the child’s natural curiosity and provides diverse ways of learning. The children meet in a group setting and participate in a year-long “run through” of all the experiences they will face as they enter school (ex: circle time, center-based math reading work, hands-on science and nature activities, library time, physical education and the requirement of class rules). The children are guided to the ability to practice and master the basic skills that will allow them to enter school prepared and excited to learn. RSK activities are directly correlated to state standards.

Parents are also able to participate in RSK activities by volunteering in the classroom.

The classes meet one day per week in the Portage elementary school the child will attend in fall 2014. This gives the child and the family the unique experience to get to know their home school and some of its faculty in advance. Parents as Teachers provides the curriculum and leads each of the classes along with the school’s Home School Adviser.

Enrollment is now underway and will continue through October. This is a first-come, first-served opportunity. This is a free program for any child who has turned 4 by Aug. 1 who will attend school within PTS the following year. Backpacks and supplies will be supplied to each child.

Please call Parents as Teachers at (219) 395-8412 to enroll your child.

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About Portage

City Hall
6070 W. Central Ave. Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-5425

Police Department
2693 Irving Street Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-3122

Fire Department
3401 Swanson Rd Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-7404

Portage Township Schools Administration Center
6240 U.S. Highway 6 Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-6511

Porter County Public Library
2665 Irving Street Portage, IN 46368
(219) 763-1508