It’s Back to School Time: Getting Ready to Welcome the New PreKPals

31 Jul 2019 Alicia Jenne
Alicia Jenne’ (shown here with PreK grad Lynley) is a veteran teacher of little people and is the PreK Pals Lead Teacher for PreK#1 at Rock Quarry Elementary School in Tuscaloosa. Alicia Jenne’ (shown here with PreK grad Lynley) is a veteran teacher of little people and is the PreK Pals Lead Teacher for PreK#1 at Rock Quarry Elementary School in Tuscaloosa. Alicia Jenne

This month, all over the state of Alabama, a huge new group of 21,000 PreKPals will go to “Big School” for the first time, thanks to the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. The state will host a total of 164 brand new PreK units, three of which will be in the Tuscaloosa City School System.  

So, what can families expect from a First Class PreK? PreK Pals will have two teachers, a lead teacher, an auxiliary teacher, and no more than 18 friends in their class. They will have a fully stocked classroom, where learning will be done through play. They will have an hour of gross motor play daily, utilizing the playground and trikes, balls, parachutes, and other outdoor equipment.  

There will be art projects, field trips, sharing days, naps, snacks, books, centers, songs, instruments, science experiments, learning how to eat in the cafeteria, and so much more. The most important thing the PreK Pals will learn is to love school and to make new friends. 

Mr. Fred Rogers is often quoted as saying, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” 

This first year will be a year of tremendous growth and it will set the stage for a lifetime of learning. Alabama’s First Class PreK is a model for the rest of the nation... and it is everything that is right about education. 

Back to School: Advice for Parents and Students 

Parents: Your teachers want you to know that we are in this together! This raising and educating “our” children is a partnership. Here’s one simple tip to ensure that you can help from home. Contact the teacher and find out how they communicate with their stakeholders. Do they send a monthly newsletter? A weekly blog post? Do they use social media? Find out how and when they communicate and read what they publish.  

Teachers “have” many more children than the average household, but they really want you to be up to date on classroom happenings. So, if they write it, please try your best to read it. If you have questions, email and ask. It really does take a village – and it is so much easier when we work together. 

Students: Don’t be worried or afraid! It’s natural to be nervous, no matter if you are just starting out in kindergarten or if you are making a bigger move into middle or high school. Your teachers will walk you through their expectations and help you set and attain your goals.  

Older students: the best way you can help yourself is to get organized. Use a planner and write down due dates. Younger students: all you need to do is listen, participate, and learn. These simple suggestions will help you have a fantastic year. 

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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