Get an early start on preschool registration

Friday, February 15, 2019

Alta Elementary Principal Stacy Mueller is calling on all parents of children three and four years old to start thinking about registration for the 2019-2020 school year.

Forms are available via a link on the school website’s homepage at alta-aurelia.org.

Spots for 3-year-olds may be limited to 10, though staffing may depend on response shown from parents early on. Superintendent Lynn Evans says the program is currently staffed to handle about 60 4-year-olds, though that capacity isn’t locked.

“There’s more urgency for 3-year-old registration,” said Mueller. “They need to get registered ASAP so they have a spot.” That program combines one Head Start associate with two special education associates.

Mueller particularly urges early outreach for parents whose child already has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or is receiving services through an Area Education Association. Those with IEPs receive first priority and free service.

Registration is open to children living inside and outside the Alta-Aurelia school district, though transportation is not provided. The forms filled out online will ensure more information is sent out to those interested on April 26. Children registering must be the 3 for the 3-year-old program or 4 for the 4-year-old program on Sept. 15, 2019.

The preschool program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., with after school programs available until 6 p.m.

That program is an additional value available, housed by Alta Elementary for no extra charge, Mueller said.

The preschool’s teacher to child ratio is another value Mueller highlights, with one teacher for every five students.

“Some parents might not think about the value of preschool as a tool going forward in a child’s education, but we focus on emotional aspects as well as academic aspects,” Mueller says. “Just being in a structured environment before transitional kindergarten or kindergarten makes a world of difference.”

In addition to ensuring a smooth kindergarten transition, she says other tools being implemented this year will ensure students get an early start on a robust academic portfolio which tracks performance from kindergarten to graduation.

That portfolio helps ensure kids are receiving the attention and intervention they need to be successful. Cross-team meetings with preschool and kindergarten staff also familiarize teachers with new students to acquaint them to the individual’s needs and progress.

Mueller says current expectations for students entering kindergarten include knowing the entire alphabet, knowing their phonetic sounds, knowing their numbers up to 20 and being able to write them.

Preschool Literacy Night and a T-K/Kindergarten parent meeting will be held on April 24, with different stations and registration for preschool and kindergarten available.