Meeting Students’ Needs
Parents and teachers partner together to screen the children for appropriate development in self-help, social, motor, language, and cognitive skills, as well as for health, dental, vision, hearing, behavior and emotional concerns. Parents and teachers write individual goals for each child, progress on the goals is monitored, and goals are revised with the parents mid-year. Daily lesson plans include objectives for individual students and records are kept of individual assistance provided each child. The classrooms provide active learning experiences with a variety of materials and equipment so that children have opportunities to express their feelings, explore new situations, and be successful. Children are encouraged to make choices, to solve problems, initiate activities, experiment and to question. Our Head Start (HS) program is funded to serve 251 children, so some applicants remain on the waiting list. The program has been able to add 60 full day and 4 half day additional students with Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) funding. The Early Head Start (EHS) program is funded to serve 28 low-income families with infants and toddlers and pregnant women. Our ECSE program provides developmentally appropriate learning experiences for young children between the ages of 2 and 5 that have been identified as having a disability. Parents are involved in program governance, in program design and classroom instruction.
Our curriculum is based on the Teaching Strategies Creative Curriculum and addresses all areas of cognitive and developmental growth, including language and literacy, math readiness, science, health and nutrition, social skills, self-help skills, fine and gross motor skills. The children will receive instruction through individual assistance, large group and small group activities. Art, music and outdoor play activities are planned daily. Many opportunities for student choice are presented throughout the day. Young children learn by actively exploring and interacting with their environment. A well-organized classroom, rich in learning materials, supports learning and growth. The space is organized into different centers for learning.
Parents serve on the Stafford Schools Early Childhood Program Policy Council, making program planning, policy, and personnel decisions, as well as assessing the quality of each aspect of the program. Parent workshops and activities are held each month, with information on budgeting, job search training, nutrition and meal planning, CPR and first aid, safety, health, and mental health topics, child abuse prevention, substance abuse, domestic violence, and healthy relationships. Fatherhood development and male involvement activities are held each month. Family events are planned throughout the year. Each classroom strives to achieve 100% parent involvement with parents invited to volunteer as often as possible and to contribute activity ideas related to the curriculum. Parents contribute anecdotal notes on the progress of their child for the Skills Assessment and work with the teacher to write individual goals for the child. Teachers make at least two home visits each year.
Stafford Schools Early Childhood Centers provide low income preschool children and those with special needs, as well as their families, with the knowledge and skills to prepare them for success now and in the future – in the classroom, the workplace, and the community. Our commitment is to foster partnerships with family, community, and staff to supply quality comprehensive developmental services for children and families. Implementing this vision requires high expectations in the delivery of children’s educational and family literacy programs, health and safety, dental, nutritional, and mental wellness opportunities. Emphasis is placed on family involvement and empowerment which is essential to the success of the child. Stafford Schools Early Childhood secures an array of individualized services and ensures that community resources are used in an efficient manner.