The Sutton Public School District offers a high quality language based preschool program that educates young children with special needs together with children without special needs in a stimulating, natural environment. Special education students attend five days each week and typical students attend three days each week for half-day sessions. The morning session runs from 8:30-11:00 a.m. and the afternoon session from 12:15-2:45 p.m.
The preschool philosophy is to present each student with opportunities to enhance self-esteem, to develop self-help, social, cognitive, language, fine and gross motor skills. Each child will be viewed as an individual with differing values, customs, behaviors, strengths, and challenges.
The Sutton Public Preschool has adopted the Opening the World of Learning (OWL) curriculum. OWL is a comprehensive pre-K curriculum. It prepares children for Kindergarten with playful, purposeful, and personalized instruction. OWL is based upon the belief that immersion in a learning-rich, pre-K environment is critical, but not sufficient. The environment and interactions are thoughtful and purposeful and all parts of the day are considered opportunities for learning. Highly qualified teachers know the curriculum content, instructional strategies, and individual children well enough to be responsive in a variety of situations. Through the use of essential questions, teachers help children connect content to their experiences, which takes them beyond rote learning and leads to thoughtful, reflective learning.
OWL instruction and components include daily language development lessons. It develops language and early literacy skills in the context of research-based and field-tested content, including math, science, and social studies. OWL also excites kids about learning through highly appealing children's books, posters, picture cards, and music. OWL consists of eight thematically organized units:
1. Welcome, New Friends
2. My Family
3. Our Community
4. Life on a Farm
5. From Jungle to Desert
6. Earth and Sky
7. Shadows and Reflections
8. Make it Move!
To learn to read, children must become aware of the sounds of language. Within OWL’s integrated pre-K curriculum, is an emphasis on literacy and oral language development. Each day, students are exposed to new vocabulary as they play with words, sounds and letters. Literacy Circle provides explicit instruction and playful practice in oral vocabulary, phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge to build the critical skills that are needed in order for children to learn how to read.
Pre-K children are surrounded by math. It's everywhere. When they count how many children are in class, when they tell how old they are, or when they use shapes to complete puzzles, they are engaging in math. Although math is incorporated throughout OWL lessons, Math Circle is the time where children specifically focus on math. OWL 2011 is the only comprehensive Pre-K curriculum to offer a double dose of math every day.
Pre-K children need time to play and experiment. They are curious about the world in which they live. Science and Social Studies Circle gives children an opportunity to investigate the world around them and the people and things in it. Through teacher-guided exploration, students observe, identify, categorize and describe their experiences as they learn about physical science, life sciences, earth and space and health and safety.
As pre-K children begin to better understand the world they live in, social studies activities provide an opportunity for children to learn how their world is organized. OWL’s comprehensive pre-k curriculum introduces students to families and communities, geography and citizenship and simple economic concepts. Through activities and discussions about these topics, students learn how to become good citizens.
Each classroom follows an established routine to organize each session. Children arrive at school at the scheduled time and location and wait with parents until the teacher arrives to transition students into the classroom. As part of the daily routine students participate in Choice Time, Table Top Activities, Gross Motor Play, Circle, and Snack.
Choice Time includes both child and teacher directed activities such as imaginary play, sensory activities, blocks, or listening center/computers.
Table Top Activities are usually teacher directed time with an activity or art project that goes along with the OWL curriculum.
Gross Motor Play may include the outdoor playground equipment when weather permits. Otherwise, a motor activity is planned such as music and movement, parachutes, obstacle courses, etc.
Circle includes story time, calendar, weather, and songs.
Snack is provided by the parent and is a social time to talk and share.
At the end of the session, the teacher will meet the parents in the designated area and release the children one at a time to approved adults. Each classroom is staffed by a state certified special education teacher, at least one instructional assistant, and supported by specialists such as speech/language therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, etc.
The preschool teachers utilize a variety of methods of communication. Teachers send home a weekly OWL newsletter which includes specific classroom information, as well as, ideas for activities and books parents can use at home to support the curriculum. Students will be provided with a daily folder that is sent back and forth daily. There is also an opportunity for daily contact at drop off and dismissal and scheduled mid-year conferences and/or progress reports to foster communication.
The Sutton Public School uses screening to identify any possible areas of need; the screening process is not connected to the lottery. The screening is a testing procedure that provides information about a child’s development and identifies possible areas of weakness. Trained personnel administer testing in the areas of: speech and language, fine motor, gross motor, and concept development. Children are asked to separate from their parent/guardian and continue into the preschool classroom with a teacher. On average the process lasts for an hour ending after the parent/guardian takes the child to the school nurse for a vision/hearing screening. Dates and times are posted throughout the year.
Tuition is free to young children with special needs identified through the Special Education Team Evaluation Process.
Tuition for typical children is as follows:
- three HALF days per week - $160/month or $1,600 for the ten-month program
- three FULL days per week - $400/month or $4,000 for the ten-month program
*A non-refundable $50 deposit is required to secure your child’s place through the summer months and is applied to your first month of tuition.