“[Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning] requires us to teach seven domains of development, math, reading, reading and literacy, social studies, creativity, social and emotional and health and physical,” Principal Wesley Cupp said. “What we’ve done is set up stations where when [parents] move from classroom to classroom, they will get an experience of each domain and what our curriculum is.”
Materials for the event were provided through the system’s $2.4 million Striving Readers Literacy Grant.
“Believe it or not, some parents think we’re like a day care and so before we get started with our other workshops we felt like we needed them to come in and see how everything worked first,” Cupp said.
Teacher Jennifer Hogan spoke with parents about the science and health and physical curriculums, providing parents examples of how she helps students develop skills like dexterity by having parents flex a rubber ball in their hand.
“It helps to know what they’re doing because a lot of times I’ll ask [my son] what he’s been doing and he’ll say ‘nothing,’ but then two days later he’ll say, ‘Well, we did this,’ and [curriculum night] kind of ties it all together,” parent Melissa Wiggins said. “He might say one or two words about what they’re doing, but being here helps me learn what I can teach more at home.”
Wiggins and husband Stuart said they felt it was important for their child, age 4, to be acclimated with the structure of school early in his life, already placing him in church-based day care and school programs.
“We want to give him that routine before he’s thrown into [kindergarten] — kindergarten can be huge,” Melissa Wiggins said.
Stuart Wiggins added, “For some of these kids the only way they’re going to learn the basic foundation of being a contributing member of society, like respect and manners and how to interact with other kids, [is through pre-K].”
Hogan said it’s important for parents to have opportunities to learn about the specific instruction of students through such events.
“I think a child has the optimal learning experience if the teacher and the parent compare and work collaboratively and communicate because when the child leaves the learning can continue at home,” Hogan said.
She said she agreed with the Wiggins’ in that pre-K provides an opportunity for children to prepare for kindergarten and for the primary education level.
“I believe that [pre-K] gives kids a head start when they begin kindergarten because they’ve beginning school with previous learning and knowledge, and it puts them ahead of the curve. And they’re able to start with some skills and some knowledge they’re learned in preschool, not just intellectually and socially, but emotionally they’re better equipped to handle the rigor that’s in a normal class day, and their bodies are more developed ... and they’re more capable of meeting the demands they’re expected to meet when starting kindergarten.” Hogan said.