4K Curriculum Overview
Children learn through exploring and play! There is a great deal of new research indicating that the skills we teach and when we teach them are critical to a child’s success in reading and his/her ability to regulate his own feelings and make friends as well as all developmental areas. Because of rapid brain development, this critical learning has to take place as early as possible through the partnership of parents and teachers. In early childhood programming, children are provided with opportunities to explore and apply new skills through child and teacher initiated activities. We use the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards as the foundation to the Wisconsin Common Core State Standards and our Wausau School District Program Goals to guide our curricular and assessment decisions. The following is a summary of curriculum components:
Happily Ever After: This literacy component of our curriculum is rooted in solid, current research. Each three week unit consists of 10 lessons that are designed to prepare children for future reading success. “Take-home” books are sent home with each story. You will get parent letters with each unit giving you ideas to practice skills at home.
Heggerty Phonemic Awareness: The Heggerty Pre-Kindergarten curriculum uses nursery rhymes to introduce preschool students to language play. The lessons include eight phonological and phonemic awareness skills, taught in a systematic progression. Learners develop alphabet knowledge through daily practice with an alphabet song and letter name and sound practice. Nursery rhymes are taught each week so that by the end of preschool students have built a repertoire of classic nursery rhymes as they learn to enjoy language play!
Handwriting Without Tears: This is our handwriting curriculum. Research supports the active teaching of writing as it is an expression of what we are thinking and reading and builds fine motor skills.
The Pyramid Model-Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (SEFEL):
Our staff has advanced training in helping children to identify and regulate their emotions, problem solve their frustrations, and follow rules and expectations. You will hear a lot about “Tucker Turtle”!
Nursery Rhymes: As part of our curriculum, we use traditional nursery rhymes and fingerplays. Nursery rhymes also greatly enrich young children’s vocabularies and supply some early lessons in the ways our language works and encourages thinking skills.
Assessments: Our students are checked regularly on benchmarks in all areas of development and assessed specifically on vocabulary development, social emotional development and a fall and spring 4K Development Assessment. In addition, the state of Wisconsin requires that every student in 4K be monitored through a literacy screener. Wausau School District teachers use myIGDIs to identify students at risk of developing reading difficulties, diagnose students' knowledge of literacy fundamentals, monitor progress, and plan instruction that targets students' needs.