Early childhood education is about so much more than learning your ABCs.
It’s about learning to learn.
Kalamazoo Public Schools’ will hold a Pre-Kindergarten Early Education Program (PEEP) and kindergarten orientation on March 9. Parents can attend a virtual orientation at 9:30 a.m. or an adults-only, in-person meeting at 5:30 p.m. Links for the virtual orientations can be found at www.kalamazoopublicschools. com/kindergarten.
Children who turned 4 by Dec. 1, 2021, can enroll in PEEP this fall.
Elizabeth Jackson-Spaner, PEEP director, says every child should experience a high-quality early childhood education. A great pre-kindergarten class helps a child gain the confidence and skills necessary to be successful as they start their K-12 education. And, those skills may not necessarily be what parents expect.
“Preschool teaches children how to be learners,” JacksonSpaner said. Yes, they participate in activities to boost their preliteracy and math skills, but they do much more, most of it built around the social and emotional skills that help them prepare for the classroom community.
For many children, their preschool experience is the first place they can develop valuable skills such as learning how to share, participate in discussions, and take turns.
Using their interactions with other students and a practice of “teachable moments,” students develop self-regulation skills, Jackson-Spaner said.
“Children learn to take care of themselves and their friends,” she said.
The preschool setting also nurtures children’s creativity and curiosity with fun and engaging activities.
PEEP uses the High/Scope Preschool Curriculum, which focuses on eight content areas, identified as essential areas of learning readiness by the National Education Goals Panel:
Approaches to learning
Social and emotional development
Physical development and health
Language, literacy and communication
Science and technology
Participating in a high-quality, pre-kindergarten program can have long-term impacts, according to the National Education Association. Children in early childhood education programs are:
Less likely to repeat a grade
Less likely to be identified as having special needs
More prepared academically for later grades
More likely to graduate from high school
Tend to be higher earners in the workforce
The PEEP office is located at Greenwood Elementary School, 3501 Moreland St. For more information visit www. kalamazoopublicschools. com/PEEP, call (269) 337- 0095, or email peep-office@ kalamazoopublicschools.net.