2011-2012 Head Start Annual Report : Efforts to Prepare Children for Kindergarten
EFFORTS TO PREPARE CHILDREN FOR KINDERGARTEN
Department of Early Childhood Education Philosophy Statement
The Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District Department of Early Childhood Education has long espoused the philosophy that the parent is the most important influence in the development of the child. We view the child and the family as a total entity replete with strengths and needs. As a result of these beliefs, we recognize that we, as an Intermediate School District Department of Early Childhood Education, cannot meet all the needs of the child and family. The family deserves to have at its disposal, a full spectrum of service agencies and programs. Therefore, the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District Department of Early Childood Education believes that it is essential to create a service model that will, together with the family, provide for optimum early intervention as a means to allow the full potential of the child.
Adults and Children — Partners in learning
Active learning — whether planned by adults or initiated by children — is the central element of the HighScope Preschool Curriculum. Children learn through direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Trained adults who understand child development and how to scaffold the important areas of learning in the preschool years offer guidance and support.
The preschool component of the HighScope Curriculum includes:
A set of teaching practices for adult-child interaction, arranging the classroom and materials, and planning the daily routine.
Curriculum content areas for 3- to 5-year-olds
Assessment tools to measure teaching behaviors and child progress
A training model to help teachers implement the curriculum effectively.
TEACHING PRACTICES IN THE HIGHSCOPE PRESCHOOL CURRICULUM
Adult-child interaction. In the HighScope approach teachers and children are active partners in the learning process. This balanced approach to adult-child interaction — also called "intentional teaching" — is critical to the effectiveness of the program. It includes techniques for encouraging learning in specific content areas as well as strategies for helping children resolve conflict.
Classroom arrangement, materials, and equipment. The space and materials in a HighScope setting are carefully arranged to promote active learning. The center is divided into interest areas organized around specific kinds of play; for example, block area, house area, small toy area, book area, sand-and-water area, and art area.
Daily routine. HighScope teachers give preschoolers a sense of control over the events of the day by planning a consistent daily routine that enables the children to anticipate what happens next. Central elements of the preschool daily routine include the plan-do-review sequence, small- and large-group times, greeting time, and outside time.
Daily Routine Components:
Planning Time - Meal Time
Small Group Time
Large Group Time
Transition Times (Includes Arrival and Departure)
Key developmental indicators. The curriculum is built around teacher- and child-initiated learning activities in five main curriculum content areas: approaches to learning; language, literacy, & communication; social and emotional development; physical development, health, and well-being; and arts and sciences. Within these areas are 58 key developmental indicators (formerly called "key experiences") — observable early childhood milestones that guide teachers as they plan learning experiences and interact with children.
Description of Transition Plan - Transition and Curriculum Committee
Developmentally oriented instruments for assessing child progress and program quality. The Preschool COR (Child Observation Record) is used to evaluate child progress in HighScope Preschool Programs. In addition, HighScope's Preschool Program Quality Assessment (PQA) offers a powerful tool for evaluating program quality in seven key areas: learning environment, daily routine, adult-child interaction, curriculum planning and assessment, parent involvement and family services, staff qualifications and staff development, and program management. Use the links at left or above to visit our assessment section and learn more about these instruments.
The committee meets 2 times per year late Fall and Spring. The committee meets generally November or December, again in February. This committee includes the local school districts, Kindergarten teachers, principals as well as Head Start and Great Start Readiness Program teaching staff, support staff, administration and Head Start and Great Start Readiness Program parents.
Sitting on this committee includes input from all participants attending on topics of transitioning from our programs to the public school programs as well as planning activities such as cooperative registrations.
The Office of Head Start has recently put a greater emphasis on School Readiness. Our Head Start staff along with local teachers and administration have developed School Readiness goals. The School Readiness goals were formulated to better prepare Head Start students transitioning on to local districts.