Pre-K Parent Connection

From APS' Office of Early Learning-January 2016

JANUARY "HOT" TOPICS

This month's edition features important information regarding the Atlanta Public Schools' Pre-K Program. Please see the topics below. We are sure you will find something just for you!


~Pre-K is Expanding! - Expansion January 2016
~Lights, Camera Action- Encouraging Children to Serve Others
~From Jungle to Desert- Pre-K Curriculum Focus
~Social and Emotional Development- Social Interactions & Positive Relationships
~Kindergarten Readiness- Skills & Concepts to Know
~2016-17 Pre-K Lottery and Enrollment Information
~Parent Resources & Activities
~Pre-K Seats Still Available

PRE-K IS EXPANDING!!!!!!

The Office of Early Learning is pleased to announce the expansion of our Pre-K program. One (1) additional Pre-K classroom will open at Adamsville Elementary, Finch Elementary, and Jones Elementary. Classrooms for these sites are scheduled to open January 25, 2015-2016. LIMITED SPACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE. If you are interested in enrolling your child in Pre-K at one of these sites, you must complete an application You can access the application online by clicking the link below:

http://www.cognitoforms.com/EarlyLearningAPS/ExpansionInterestListForAdamsvilleFinchAndJonesElementaryClassesOpenJanuary2016


Submitting an application does not guarantee that your child will be accepted into the program. Due to a limited number of seats available in each site and to ensure fairness, seats will be filled in the order that applications are received. Applicants will ONLY be contacted if a seat is awarded. Thank you for your interest in the Atlanta Public Schools' Pre-K program.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!

We need your help! Young children are never too young to build an understanding of kindness and servitude. Together, with your child, plan to participate in activities that build social skills, increase awareness of the needs of others, and work in the community. We want to optimize the experience by showcasing our pre-k students performing random acts of kindness, displaying model behavior, building strong friendships, and volunteering during the national day “ON” (MLK Holiday). Have a good picture? If not, take one! Be sure to capture your child in the act of kindness, then email the picture to prekinfo3@atlanta.k12.ga.us. Don't forget include your names, school attending, and a brief description of your photo for a chance to be featured in a future edition of the Pre-K parent newsletter! We want to see your child in action!

FROM JUNGE TO DESSERT

Throughout the month of January, Pre-K classrooms will move into an exciting unit within the OWL curriculum entitled "From Jungle to Desert." The students will explore weekly topics and questions such as, "What is a jungle?" and "What are desert animals?" The students will delve into books related to the topic and be exposed to a variety of vocabulary words related to the theme.

Students will also focus on:

-Understanding the difference between a jungle and a desert

-Identifying jungle and desert animals

-Enjoying dramatic play areas that look like jungles and deserts

-Learning about climates in the jungle and the desert


Please keep the excitement going at home by reading related books, talking about jungles, deserts, and all the animals that live there!

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

As you look onward to 2016, take the time to focus on building appropriate social interactions. As you and your child spend time interacting with family, friends, teachers and others, take a moment to help your child improve social skills and build healthy relationships. Be mindful that building and maintaining healthy relationships is an important aspect of a child's development and an indicator of kindergarten readiness. One great way to help your child learn to build positive relationships is by setting a good example for them. Use every opportunity to show your child through your own actions how being respectful and interacting positively with others looks. Soon you will see that they are following in your footsteps. Strengthening these necessary skills will contribute to your child's social success.

Please visit www.parenttoolkit.com or www.gels.decal.ga.gov.

DEVELOPING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS

It is important that children develop positive relationships with teachers and peers. This is not something that not all children naturally do but can taught and nurtured by parents, other adults and peers they encounter. This should be modeled with parents, grandparents, siblings, and peers and teachers. Therefore, it is important that parents expose children to positive interactions and relationships to facilitate that development. Below are suggestions activities to support that development.


Set a good example! Remember that you are setting the example that your child will follow. When your child sees you being patient, kind, honest and caring with him and others, but also speaking up for yourself when necessary, they are provided with a blueprint of proper social behavior.


Draw children's attention to the feelings or experiences of others-Try saying, "Look at her face. Can you tell how she feels?" Help them to develop empathy by reminding them of their own similar feelings or experiences. Always follow up with a conversation explaining how you would feel or respond in a positive manner.


Model caring, and positive regard for others-When a child is absent, remind the others of the friend who is missed. If absences are prolonged, have children make cards or gifts to convey feelings of regard. This teaches a child to develop empathy for others and also helps them to begin to express and internalize their feelings.


Intervene when children are repeatedly rejected by others- Making new friends can be difficult for some children who sometimes need strategies to do so. Providing children with specific strategies for entering play such as asking, "Can I play?" is not as effective as watching, getting close, and playing with the same thing or bringing a toy over to a peer. Help children identify common ground or shared preferences with others as ways to begin relationships. An example might be to say, "You have a new book about fish. Why don't you take it to school? I know the other children would like to see it!" Sharing a book may find others with similar interests and is a great way to help students gain confidence to explore new friendships.


Talk to your child about friends- Try talking to your child about friends, and discuss experiences with peers in a pleasant, conversational way. For example, you can ask, “Did you make any new friends at school?” or “Did you share your toys with your friend Freddy today?” or “Why did you get upset with your sister? How do you think that made her feel?” Talking about feelings helps children begin to understand their feelings and actions. It also allows parents to provide suggestions on how they might engage the next time. It also allows parents to stay in tune with issues that may be cause for concern.


http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/hs/sr/approach/elof/se_dev.html

www.parenttoolkit.com

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KINDERGARTEN, HERE I COME!

My oh my, how quickly the first half of Pre-K has gone! As we enter 2016, it is important that we begin preparing for kindergarten by making the most of the final months of Pre-K. Preparing for kindergarten is an important topic for many parents. Therefore, the Office of Early Learning wants to ensure that you, the parent, is aware of, has the tools required, and can begin helping your child master the many skills expected of them before they enter kindergarten. For example, the rigors of a full day in kindergarten requires a child to sit for longer periods of time, have developed fine and gross motor skills, and work well with other children. It is important that children starting kindergarten are able to focus on given tasks, follow directions and interact well with others.


The 6 main areas of kindergarten readiness are as follows:

  1. Language

  2. Concept development

  3. Writing and reading

  4. Number concept

  5. Physical development

  6. Social and emotional development


Language

Among other words, children especially need to know the words they will need to follow directions; these words include top/middle/bottom, directional words such as over and under, size and color descriptions, as well as instructional words such as start/stop and my turn/your turn. Exposing your child to rich language is also important to their academic success. The more words they know, the more they absorb, understand and communicate. You can never talk too much to your child about what they see in books, on media and in the environment around them. Word knowledge is a key indicator of kindergarten readiness.


Concept Development

Reading with your child and helping them understand that letters and words have

important meaning will help your child begin to think critically and is essential to early literacy. Read aloud to your child often and make reading exciting by adding animation, voice inflections and humor. This naturally draws children in and develops a love for reading. Also, it is important to allow your child to read to you. This may be them repeating what they have heard your read, restating key ideas from the books or looking at pictures to tell the story or reinvent the story. All of these are acceptable and appropriate and expose children to endless vocabulary and concepts needed for early literacy and kindergarten readiness.


Writing and Reading

Many students between the ages of three and five may not have started formal writing. However, they should be taught to hold a crayon or pencil and begin to recognize numbers and letters. The more exposure to books and expressing their thoughts through writing, the more prepared they will be for kindergarten. So, after reading a book, taking a walk or visiting a friend or family member, begin to encourage your child to draw a picture and write about their experiences. Pictures and letter like symbols are appropriate for this age and should be positively reinforced and praised. Remember, children develop at different rates so don't apply pressure for perfection. In time, and with practice and praise, you will see your child's abilities improve and you can celebrate the success.


Number Concepts

Children should begin to understand that written numerals represent the number of objects, particularly numbers 1 – 10. Children at this age often rote count numbers which is an important skill but more the ability to count objects and know how many are represented is more important. This can be done in natural settings such as counting toys, counting objects seen in books, counting rocks or flowers while outside. Asking children how many, how many more, and using terms such as less or greater helps them develop an understanding of how numbers represent quantities. It also helps them to begin to problem solve and explain their findings. This is a key skill needed for kindergarten and one that will help your child learn to love math at an early age.


Physical Development

Engaging in movement using large muscles (gross motor) and small muscles (fine motor),

is important for children to be able to explore, participate and interact in the environment. Children should be involved in play and activities to develop these muscles. This is needed for healthy physical development and is essential to developing a healthy self image and healthy mind. Physical activities stimulate the body and brain and promotes a healthy life style at an early age.


Social and Emotional Development

Children should be taught about sharing, taking turns, following

simple instructions, waiting in line and participating in group activities. They should be taught a sense of belonging and an eagerness to participate and learn. This is also very important as children enter new settings and engage with teachers, school staff and their peers. Having the ability to express emotions in a developmentally appropriate manner and the ability to share attention, space and items, is essential to learning and makes the kindergarten experience an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both child and parent.



The Pre-kindergarten curriculum incorporates the key areas needed for kindergarten readiness, and is aligned to Georgia kindergarten standards. To view more information about kindergarten standards, please visit www.georgiastandards.org or http://www.atlanta.k12.ga.us/cms/lib/GA01000924/Centricity/Domain/92/Parent%20Guide%20to%20Kindergarten%20Readiness.pdf

COMING SOON- 2016-2017 APS PRE-K LOTTERY & ENROLLMENT

The Office Of Early Learning is excited to announce that the 2016-2017 Pre-K Lottery and Enrollment Process is fast approaching. Our anticipated lottery application acceptance window will be March 2016. However, please check the APS website for specific dates and information. Get a jump start on the process by gathering the necessary documents listed below.

Pre-K Enrollment Requirements

Birth Certificate or Passport

Parent Photo ID

Proof of Residence such as electric, gas or water bill, lease or mortgage statement. (cable and phone bills are not acceptable) OR

Affidavit of Residency (if the utility bill, lease or mortgage statement is not in parent's name)

Child's Social Security Card or waiver

Proof of Guardianship (if applicable)

Child's Peachcare, Medicaid or Health Insurance Card

Immunization Certificate (Form 3231) and Ear, Eye and Dental Form (Form 3300)

Dental and physical exams are required- Head Start sites only

Proof of Income- Required for Head Start Sites (W-2, Tax Return, SSI, TANF)


Visit our website below for listing of current sites. Head Start site are indicated with an asterisk (*). Please check site frequently as we update regularly.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION NEEDED FOR LOTTERY & ENROLLMENT

In effort to provide greater access, we will be offering an online process again this year with a designated window to apply. It is important that your contact information is accurate and up-to-date at all times throughout this process. We want you to be prepared for this event.


To apply and receive regular notifications, an active personal email address is highly encouraged. Business or work place email accounts sometimes change and may send information to spam. Please take time to create a personal email account and check it regularly once you apply to receive important communication. We also encourage you have access to this online platform. You will be able to access it from smartphones and tablets. However, if you do not have access to a mobile devise, you can visit your local school, library, public access government centers or the APS Office of Early Learning to use computers to apply. Additionally, upon submitting the lottery application, you will be able to upload important documents, making your experience much easier to complete. However, please note that you will still need to present the official birth certificate and proof of residency information at the time of enrollment. Plan now so that you are ready! Also, please visit our website regularly and follow us on Twitter @APS_PreK for the latest updates and information. You can also contact us from 8:30-4:30 p.m. at 404-802-3640.


Visit the Lottery and Enrollment website below.

PARENT RESOURCES

Families First

Counseling & Support Services ~ Effective and Nurturing Parenting Services ~ School Success ~ Healthy Babies, Healthy Moms

http://www.familiesfirst.org/


Parenting Resources: Tips on Raising Children and More

http://grownups.pbskids.org/


Food Resource

Atlanta Community Food Bank

help@acfb.com

404-829 -FEED (3333) x2400


Sibling Rivalry: Advice, Tips, Strategies, Resources and More

http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/sibling-rivalry

FUN FAMILY ACTIVITIES

"Seussical", a Muscial bringing the whimsical works of Dr.Seuss to life

WHEN: January 9th - 30th (Show times vary by week and day; see website link for details)

WHERE:

OnStage Atlanta Theatre Company

2969 East Ponce De leon Ave

Decatur, GA 30030

(404)897-1802

COST: $6.50-$13.00 per ticket

http://www.onstageatlanta.com/


Atlanta History Center and The Margaret Mitchell House

(Offering free admission on MLK Day January 18, 2016)

Please visit www.atlantahistorycenter.com for more details


Slitherin’ Celebration

WHEN: January 24, 2016 , 12:00 pm

WHERE: Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell GA
"A day of reptile revelry includes a Southeastern Snake Encounter Show with Jason Clark of Animal Planet. See live reptile exhibits, shows, activity booths, crafts, face painting and more."

COST: Included with General admission: Adults, $10; ages 3-12, $6; 2 and younger, free.

http://chattnaturecenter.org/special-events/family-fun-days/


Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site

450 Auburn Ave.

Northeast Atlanta, GA 30312

(To plan your visit, please call 404-331-5190)

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APS PRE-K SEATS STILL AVAILABLE!!!

There are limited seats available in the APS Pre-K program across the district. To inquire, please contact the Office of Early Learning at 404-802-3640. You can also visit our website at www.Atlanta.k12.ga.us/prek .