Prekindergarten in Action
This chapter describes how to develop a prekindergarten curriculum that integrates reading and writing activities within a themed unit designed to meet national social studies standards. While the teacher we describe in this chapter is not real, the setting of the classroom does exist and many of the activities we describe have been developed in our numerous professional contacts with preschool teachers. The samples we use in the chapter were gathered from various preschool settings. This chapter is written to provide information about how to plan a curriculum at a level where teachers are often not provided with state-mandated standards or guidelines.
Ms. Simpson and her aide teach 18 4-year-olds in a preschool for low-income families funded by the state Office of School Readiness. Her classroom is located in an old refurbished high school that also houses several Head Start, Even Start, and adult education classrooms. Because some of the programs in this building are funded in part by Title I monies through the local school system, Ms. Simpson has access to many services, including transportation and professional development. Although her program does not include a music, art, or physical education teacher, Ms. Simpson works closely with the kindergarten teachers in the local school system and uses the services of a reading specialist and a speech and language pathologist. The school system is located in a rural part of the state where many parents are only occasionally employed or hold minimumwage jobs. Despite the fact that nearby communities provide numerous cultural, educational, and sporting events, many of Ms. Simpson's children have not had extensive experiences beyond their local community. Most children have never been to the small community library and most do not own more than a few children's books.