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Pre-kindergarten prep offered for 200

In its first year, Clark County Preschool’s Kindergarten Readiness Academy brought 80 preschoolers on campus for six weeks during the summer to prepare them for the transition to kindergarten.

This summer, because of health concerns over the novel coronavirus, the school won’t be offering the lessons on-site. But by offering them online, they will be able to serve more than twice as many children as last year.

With a grant from the Kentucky Department of Education, the school has purchased supplies for 200 children, and there’s enough left over to buy that many more if there’s a big demand.

“This year, with COVID, we’ve had to completely reimagine what we’re going to do,” Principal Kara Davies said. “But we had the funding through the grant, and what we decided to do, since we’re going virtual, is why not open it up to every single incoming student in the county?”

“We actually saved a little money because we didn’t have to pay staff to come in for eight hours a day … and by videoing them, we can get them out to everybody.”

The program begins Monday, and there were still 75 spots available as of Thursday morning.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the teachers handed out red tote bags filled with materials including coloring books and crayons, sidewalk chalk, workbooks, crafting materials, scissors, flash cards for colors and ABCs and play-dough. A DVD of the whole six weeks will also be included in the packet.

Davies said the faculty have put together six weeks of lessons with a different focus each day.

The lessons cover five areas: social-emotional learning, literacy, math, motor skills and “Learning Without Tears,” which is about letter building.

Each lesson begins with a video students watch with their parents, and afterward, the parents can work with the children on the lessons.

The videos are all less than 10 minutes, and the lessons, including activities, are less than an hour.

“We will post one lesson a day on Facebook, our YouTube channel and our website, and people can view the lesson and get out the packet” and work with their child, Davies said.

If the parents interact, for example, by posting a picture on the school’s Facebook page of their child working with the materials, they will be entered for a drawing to win other educational items, such as a Kindle Fire or Lakeshore Learning materials.

Davies said she and the teachers wanted to schedule the academy as late as possible this summer so kids wouldn’t regress as much over the summer and forget some of what they learned. Fall classes resume Sept. 8.

She said the school will be able to track the students and data.

“We’ll be able to pull specific students next year and their kindergarten readiness data and see if this had an impact,” she said.

Davies expects the program to also be a learning experience for teachers.

“I feel like this whole project, of doing this online, has helped us get ready for this year,” she said, because some parents may opt for virtual learning. “Because learning is changing and the role of schools is changing in the lives of people, this has prepared us to be better equipped to provide digital learning to students next year.”

Clark County Preschool is also currently screening and taking applications.

The link to the application can be found at https://forms.gle/oeFha6Ez1xVMKf1Z6

For more information, call the school at 859-744-1722 or visit the website: http://teach.clarkschools.net/PK/Preschool.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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