Virginia Preschool Initiative

Preschool Children

TO QUALIFY, CHILDREN MUST BE FOUR YEARS OLD BY SEPTEMBER 30, 2017

The Virginia Preschool Initiative, (VPI) began in 1994 as a part of a program to improve educational achievement. This initiative serves at-risk four year olds who are not being served by Head Start. Students must be four years old by September 30 in order to be eligible for the program. VPI classrooms are located in each of the five elementary schools in Pulaski County:

            • Critzer Elementary
            • Dublin Elementary
            • Pulaski Elementary
            • Riverlawn Elementary
            • Snowville Elementary

Curriculum

Each VPI classroom serves no more than 18 four year olds with one teacher and one highly qualified para-educator providing a staff/child ratio of 9:1. Classes meet on all school days classes are in session. The Riverlawn site also houses the Supervisor of Preschool who coordinates parent involvement with the preschool; a very important component of each child’s first school experience. The Virginia Preschool Initiative emphasizes collaboration among the home, school, and community to provide a quality program which fosters the development of the whole child. A safe, nurturing environment is provided at each location which promotes active exploration, curiosity, and an excitement for learning. The curriculum used by the VPI program revolves around a language-rich environment and follows Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning which are the standards provided by the state of Virginia for Literacy, Mathematics, Science, and History and Social Science. The VPI classrooms use the curriculum published by Frog Street Press which facilitates the implementation of the early literacy components. It is a pre-kindergarten curriculum that provides a rich environment of print and non-print experiences related to language and literacy development across all core subject areas (Literacy, Mathematics, Science, History, and Social Science). Frog Street Press is a child-centered comprehensive curriculum containing components for differentiated instruction, English and Spanish resources, and a focus on social and emotional development. The program of instruction incorporates such early childhood teaching tools as literature, music, poetry, learning center activities, and puppets to engage children as active learners. Developmental skills are introduced and practiced along a continuum in this program; they build on children’s life experiences and the home/school connection by focusing activities around familiar places and experiences. By providing a basis in familiar places, people, and objects, these programs enable children to use prior knowledge to relate to new understandings, thus increasing their possibilities of success. The curriculum and instruction for the preschool is based on the educational research found in Learning to Read and Write: Developmentally Appropriate Practices for Young Children, a joint position statement by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the International Reading Association. This research shows that language and literacy development in the preschool years is critical to children’s future success in learning to read and in overall academic achievement throughout the elementary and secondary school years. Children who do not receive a wealth of early experiences that build vocabulary and early reading skills as well as a motivation and love of learning, are at risk for reading failure in the kindergarten and first grade years, which can spiral into repeated cycles of struggle and underperformance in subsequent years. The instructional environment includes a high-quality oral language environment and a high-quality print-rich environment. Children engage in meaningful, fun activities that help them build their awareness of the sounds of language. Children discuss the sounds that letters make, sound out words, and play games with letters and words. By listening to frequent re-readings of appropriate-level literature, children quickly learn the words and story. Through songs and poems, they are also exposed to the sounds and patterns of language. Children have many opportunities to listen to books being read aloud, and then to work with the book by retelling the story, and discussing the story in rich, language-based activities related to the story. To insure continuity and coordination with formal school instruction in the public schools, the Pre-K PALS is given to the children in the fall, mid-year, and in the spring. This data is analyzed to determine the direction of the instructional program for skills and to check the growth that the children have made during the program year. The PALS instrument is then continued in grades K-3 in the elementary schools.

Supervisor

Stacy Arnett

Supervisor of Preschool Programs and PALS

Applications may be submitted to the elementary school in your district or mailed to:

Stacy Arnett
Supervisor of Preschool and PALS
8100 Beth Nelson Dr.
Fairlawn, VA. 24141
Phone (540-643-0708)
Email: sarnett@pcva.us

Overview

Pulaski County Schools operate five preschool programs for four year olds. The application process for each school year will begin in February and continue until the end of March. The initial screening and review is expected to take place once the pre-application period is over and will be concluded at the end of April. You can come by any elementary school office and pick up an application or call and ask that an application be sent to you. We will also have information and applications for preschool at each elementary school’s kindergarten registration. Submitting an application does not necessarily mean acceptance into a program. Applicants must meet eligibility criteria. Eligibility is determined by a point system which considers income level, health issues, family circumstances and developmental needs. We usually have more applications than spaces, so it is important that you get an application in early. The application is available online and in all elementary schools.

  • Full day program based on the district school calendar
  • Monday through Friday
  • School bus transportation provided
  • Certified teacher and paraprofessional in each classroom
  • No fee or tuition
  • Family participation is required