If you were to observe Tonya McGregor’s Pre-Kindergarten class, you might be surprised to see the children playing most of the day.
“Play teaches children a number of very important social skills,” said Hardy County Schools Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Strawderman. “They learn to share. They learn to get along with others. They learn to take turns. It’s very valuable that children learn to play with others. It helps them in their overall learning.”
Hardy County children who will be 4 years old by July 1, 2020 are eligible to enroll in Pre-K. There are classes at Moorefield Elementary School, East Hardy Early Middle School and at the Moorefield Learning Center on Beans Lane. Children who enroll at MES or EHEMS will attend classes during regular school hours Monday through Thursday. Children who attend the MLC will attend classes Monday through Friday.
“Pre-K is the foundation to your child’s education,” said MES Principal Wade Armentrout. “Pre-K is a wonderful opportunity to prepare your child for the learning that will occur during their school career. In Pre-K, your child will become prepared by engaging in fun learning through play that develops lifelong social and emotional skills.”
Each Pre-K class is staffed with a teacher and an aide, both trained in early childhood development. Transportation is provided. Children are served breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. There is also a rest period in the afternoon. Potty training is also available.
“Parents have expressed to us that potty training is a barrier to sending their children to Pre-K,” Strawderman said. “We want to eliminate that barrier. We would certainly prefer the child be potty trained, but if they’re not, we are ready and willing to work toward that goal.”
In addition to social skills, children who attend Pre-K learn to follow directions, listen when others are speaking and focus on tasks. They learn reading and literacy skills, as well as age-appropriate math and science skills. Parents whose children attend Pre-K develop relationships with trained educators and others in the school community.
“Students who have attended Pre-K score higher on tests administered in Kindergarten,” Armentrout said. “That means your child will have a great start to their education when they begin in Pre-K.”
Registration dates for Hardy County Pre-K are as follows:
- Friday, Jan. 31, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, Feb. 5, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, Feb. 12, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Call 304-530-5511 for an appointment. In addition to a completed enrollment application, parents/guardians must bring an official birth certificate, Social Security card, insurance card, vaccination record, most recent wellness and dental check and proof of income. Guardianship documents may also be required. All documentation must be completed by May 1.
“Students who have attended Pre-K are more prepared for Kindergarten,” Strawderman said. “It makes a world of difference in their ability to learn.”