Pre-K Teaching Times

January Edition

From Jungle to Desert

Happy New Year!

This is an exciting time for Pre-K as we embark on the second semester of teaching and learning for our students. As we kick our pedagogy into high gear it is important that we understand that our students grasp unit theme concepts by listening to stories, participating in discussions, engaging in concept-related play, and learning new vocabulary. Also, please be reminded that your learning environment should "scream the theme." In this unit, we will explore what jungles and deserts are like. At this formative age, children should be able to step into their classrooms and enhance or encourage their vivid imaginations all while making learning a meaningful and exciting experience. With kindergarten fast approaching lets make the best efforts to be sure that APS "Pre-Kers" are ready! Below you will find some fun ideas for your classrooms.

White Board Activities

Visit and search the key word jungle and/or desert to find a plethera of videos, games, and activities for you and the children to enjoy.

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GRC (Grant Requirement Checklist) Audit

Although we are in a new semester, Fall GRC audits will continue through the month of January. See below for a list of items that will be reviewed.

1. Training registration for teachers

2. PDR Numbers

3. Working copy of the Checklist for Student Files

4. Individual files will be checked to make sure they match the Roster Verification.

5. Monitoring Plans are completed for the checklists.

6. Lesson Plans are completed and kept in a cumulative binder in an easily attainable area.

CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System)

What is considered the real measure of quality teaching? CLASS measures teacher-child interactions-the most influential factor in student learning.

As they enter preschool, children’s sense of themselves and the world around them is grounded in (and dependent on) relationships. The quality of interactions they receive from teachers has a lasting impact on their success—in school and in life.

The CLASS for Pre-K includes a focus on how teachers:

  • Foster a secure, supportive base for children’s learning and exploration
  • Help children develop language and cognitive skills
  • Construct environments and experiences that help children develop their abilities
- See more at:

CLASS Observations will take place between January and April of 2016. Please see your ELS for any further clarity or concerns.

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Social-Emotional Development

Social & Emotional Development

This area of development involves learning to interact with other people, and to understand and control your own emotions. Babies start to develop relationships with the people around them right from birth, but the process of learning to communicate, share, and interact with others takes many years to develop. Developing the ability to control your emotions and behavior is also a long process. Children continue to develop their social-emotional skills well into their teenage years, or even young adulthood.

Below are some of the typical developmental milestones for social-emotional skills. After the milestones, you can find some “red flags” that might indicate a concern.

Between the ages of 4-5 years, your students will:

  • Show some awareness of moral reasoning, such as “fairness”, and good or bad behavior
  • Develop friendships
  • Express more awareness of other people’s feelings
  • Enjoy imaginative play with other children, such as dress up or house
  • Get better at sharing and taking turns with other children
  • Enjoy playing games, but might change the rules as he goes
  • Stick with a difficult task for longer period (controlling frustration or anger better)
  • Show an understanding of right and wrong
  • Listen while others are speaking
  • Play games with simple rules

Red Flags for Social-Emotional Development (4-5 years)

  • He is not able to initiate or join in play with other children
  • She is not able to share at all with other children
  • She wants to be dependent on her caregivers for everything
  • He is extremely “rigid” about routines, and becomes extremely upset when things are changed
  • She has extreme difficulty separating from the parent or/or you
  • He is too passive or fearful, and does not want to try things other children his age are doing
  • She has extreme fears that interfere with daily activities

Please utilize your Second Step curriculum resource during your opening circle to give your students the opportunity to experience typical and/or atypical scenarios in an interactive way, while learning the appropriate steps to handle these situations.

If you are noticing any number "red flags" with a student please submit an Internal Referral to your ELS immediately.

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Project Learning Garden Grant

The Project Learning Garden Grant is now open for Pre-K. The grant (application) is due Feb 29th. You will need to work with your admin team to determine a place for the garden.

Below is the list of schools that already have PLGs so it would be great if Pre-K joins in this fun and exciting learning experience for the children.

Adamsville Elementary
Beecher Hills Elementary
Bethune Elementary

Bolton Academy

Burgess-Peterson Academy

Cleveland Ave Elementary

Continental Colony Elementary

D.H. Stanton Elementary

Deerwood Academy

Dobbs Elementary

Dunbar Elementary

E. Rivers Elementary

E.L. Connally Elementary

Fain Elementary

F.L. Stanton Elementary

Fickett Elementary

Finch Elementary

Garden Hills Elementary

Gideons Elementary

Heritage Academy

Hope Hill Elementary

Hutchinson Elementary

Humphries Elementary

Kimberly Elementary

Jones Elementary

Parkside Elementary

Perkerson Elementary

Peyton Forest Elementary

Scott Elementary
Slater Elementary

Toomer Elementary

Towns Elementary

Usher-Collier Heights Elementary

Venetian Hills Elementary

Woodson Elementary

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AWARDS for Early Educators Update 2016

DECAL SCHOLARS is excited to continue supporting Georgia’s early care and education professionals through the AWARDS for Early Educators program. This time-limited program rewards individuals who earn their first early childhood education (ECE) credential or degree or an additional, higher ECE credential or degree. In conjunction with DECAL’s SCHOLARSHIPS program, which provides tuition assistance and the INCENTIVES program, which encourages teacher retention, the AWARDS for Early Educators program provides qualified early care and education professionals a unique opportunity to enhance their credentials. This program will award a single bonus at each level to eligible applicants who have earned any of the ECE credentials or degrees listed below within the past 12 months. All credentials and degrees must be earned by June 30, 2017.

Since AWARDS for Early Educators began eighteen months ago, more than $1.6M of the $2.9M grant funds designated for this special program have been paid to almost 1,100 ECE professionals.

Following are the policies and procedures for AWARDS for Early Educators for 2016:

  1. 1) Due to the overwhelming response from the ECE field, awards for 2016 and 2017 will be allocated as follows:

  2. 2) Applicants are no longer required to complete a pre-application for AWARDS for Early Educators. Instead, applicants should submit an AWARDS for Early Educators application after earning a qualifying credential or degree.

  3. 3) Awards will be issued on a first come, first serve basis. Completed applications will be processed in the order they are received. An application will not be considered complete until ALL supporting documentation is received.

  4. 4) Applicants must have been employed in an eligible position with an eligible employer for at least six (6) consecutive months to qualify for AWARDS for Early Educators. Volunteer work does not qualify as employment.

  5. 5) Qualifying credentials or degrees must be in early childhood education, child development or child care administration and must be conferred within 12 months of applying for AWARDS for Early Educators.

Visit or call (800) 227-3410 for more information about DECAL SCHOLARS programs.

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Georgia's Pre-K Program Teacher of the Year 2016-2017

We are excited to announce that DECAL is seeking nominations for Georgia’s Pre-K Program Teacher of the Year for 2016-2017. DECAL will select a winner from a local public school system and a winner from a private child care center. The nomination can come from a Georgia’s Pre-K Project Director or a Pre-K teacher, but the nominated teacher must complete a teacher information page and respond to questions on the application. The application for Pre-K Teacher of the Year is available on the home page of the DECAL website. Completed applications must be postmarked or hand delivered no later than 5:00 PM on Friday, January 29, 2016. Finalists will be announced in May, 2016, with the winners announced in the early fall.

The APS applications will also include a classroom observation, interview, and essay. See the link below for details and please contact your ELS if you have any questions.

Upcoming Events and Due Dates

January 2016

5th Assistant Training (Kennedy)

6th 2nd Year Returning Lead Teacher Training (Bright from the Start)

6-29th Theme “From Jungle to Desert”

11th-22th PALS Assessment (Mid-Year) Striving Reader Schools

13th Monthly PD (3:30-5:00)

20th Head Start Training (Leads)

21st Head Start Training (Assistants)

27th Data Meeting-Striving Reader Schools Only (3:30-5:00)

29th WSO Screening (entering and linking documentation)

29th Health and Safety Checklists Due (HS)

OWL Progress Monitoring 2 Data Entry Due (Template will be sent via email)

Important Reminders

-Lesson plans are due on Thursday by the COB each week for the upcoming week and place previous lesson plans in your lesson plan binder

-Be sure to plan for a small group reading activity with a follow up activity at least once a week in your lesson plans and schedule accordingly so that all of your students have had this experience by the end of the week.

-Submit the Changes to the Environment plan at the start of a new theme

-Enter into WSO at least once a week as to avoid cramming close to deadline.

-IQ guides should be updated and kept in view for the state consultant's visits.

-Make sure your classroom stays clutter free and conducive for learning.

Office of Early Learning

This newsletter is intended for APS Pre-kindergarten teachers and assistants to inform of important information and dates during the 2015-16 school year.

225 James P Brawley Drive Northwest, Atlanta, GA, United States