Originally Published: September 21, 2015 6 a.m.
In Chino Valley School District, the Territorial Early Childhood Center is off to a great start! We are in our third year and excited about the preschool program expansion. The preschool offers a developmentally appropriate first school experience in a setting designed especially for their academic success. The morning classes are geared to the 3-year-old students where we are specifically working on social skills. The afternoon classes are designed for 4- and 5-year-old students who are working on pre-kindergarten readiness skills. We love this addition to our Early Childhood Center. Children have their first school experience in a setting that is designed especially for them and they love it!
The kindergarten day starts out each morning, after the children eat breakfast, with the "Morning Program," which instills in our students the importance of community and patriotism. We have also implemented a "PAWS-itive Character" program that teaches nine of the pillars of Character Counts and encourages our students to implement the pillars in their lives. Classrooms have the opportunity to earn "Good Behavior PAWS" and will be able to redeem them for a special treat at the end of each month. Kindergarten is the perfect time to learn acceptable social skills, the value of good character, and the importance of listening and following directions.
Academically, kindergarten is the foundation for everything else that children learn. Our teachers are skilled at preparing and presenting academically sound lessons that teach the basics of phonics, reading, writing, math, science and social studies. The students are assessed quarterly using the state-approved DIBELS program. Those results help teachers design intervention activities to reinforce concepts with children who need extra help. Further, the information gleaned from assessing students allows teachers to plan additional activities for the whole classroom that will strengthen each student's skills.
Kindergartners will also have the opportunity to go on several field trips throughout the year. Those become highlights of the year because they will visit a local pumpkin patch in October, the Gingerbread Village and Harkins Theatres in December, Bearizona in the spring, and the Chino Valley Aquatic Center at the end of the year. Our kindergarten students present two music programs that parents and the public are invited to attend, one at Christmastime and one at the end of the year. What a treat to see those cute little faces singing their hearts out to entertain their parents.
Early childhood is an exciting time in the life of a child. Sometimes it is a child's first experience being separated from their parents and sometimes it is their first experience being in a group setting and group activities. Pre-K and kindergarten is definitely a learning experience for our students ... and our Early Childhood Center is the best place to be!