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Schalmont, local pre-k teachers pair up to better prepare kindergartners

June 2, 2016

prekSchalmont, local pre-k teachers pair up to better prepare kindergartners

Schalmont teachers Marie Drislane and Amy Glick had been noticing that incoming students weren’t as prepared as they could be for kindergarten, so they set out to change that.

“Anything we could do to improve that would be great, so we decided to reach out to the local preschool teachers,” Drislane said.

The two developed a program in which they would work with local pre-kindergarten instructors and help them better understand the changes in the Common Core curriculum, specifically in math, and provide them with sample lessons they can use to help students be kindergarten-ready.

prek“The preschool teachers are so valuable,” Drislane said. “You can tell how passionate they are about their students.”

Funded by an Idea Grant from the Schalmont Teachers Institute, the program involved four 1.5 hour workshops, which were completed by 21 teachers from 12 preschools. Participants were given supplies needed for the lessons provided and had the opportunity to practice teaching to the new standards by taking turns functioning as both the student and the teacher.

“They realized what they do is so important, and they worked so hard,” Glick said. “They really liked the school/pre-school connection.”

The pair also hosted three family nights where parents could learn more about what is expected of students when they come to kindergarten.

prek“We provided a checklist of fun things they can do to encourage math learning in a family environment,” Glick said.
The feedback from the participants, who were able to get professional development credits for the program, has been positive.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to bridge the gap and develop professional relationships between early childhood and elementary educators. I look forward to similar experiences in the future,” said Dannielle Drechsler of Kidz Korner.

Katie Lord said she has already implemented some of the lessons in her preschool classes.

“I have learned so much,” she said. “My students are already benefiting from this experience.”

prek“Our children are going to benefit for years to come, because you were able to give us this opportunity,” Heather Diamond of Kidz Korner added.

The district is hoping to continueworking with preschool teachers and additional outreach programs are currently being developed.

“It’s important that this kind of outreach continues,” Glick said, adding the benefits go both ways. “It helped everyone know what the foundation standards should be and gave us a better understanding of what to do with children who weren’t prepared.”