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Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
AP 304 - PreKindergarten (PreK)

Background

Horizon School Division recognizes that all children benefit from positive early childhood experiences. PreK programs in the Province of Saskatchewan are designed to target children and families with vulnerabilities and to facilitate the development of the whole child through an integrated, holistic approach. The key components of a PreK program are a responsive learning program, a caring environment, family involvement, community partnerships and integrated services.

Procedures

1.  Space in Horizon School Division’s PreK programs are limited to 16 children. Children who are three and four years old with vulnerabilities are eligible to attend PreK and will be prioritized according to need, age and other factors based on the professional judgement and expertise of the intake team.

2.  The administrator may add an additional student or students under exceptional circumstances upon consultation with the Superintendent of Student Services.

3.  An attempt will be made to balance the number of three and four-year-old children in the program, however, student and family vulnerability will be the deciding factor over age. Whenever possible, children with the greatest need will be provided with the opportunity to attend the program for two years.

4.  Students who live in the area served by the PreK program will be given priority over students from outside the catchment area with comparable vulnerability factors/scores. Children living outside of the school’s geographical boundaries may apply and may be admitted to a PreK program based on availability of space, vulnerability factors, lack of access to programming within their communities and/or other factors at the discretion of the administrator and in consultation with the Superintendent of Student Services.

5.  In order to ensure that children with the greatest need are served, the student selection committee will refer to the following process to identify children and families in need of PreK programming based on the vulnerability criteria outlined in this Administrative Procedure.

5.1.  Prior to admission into a PreK program, the PreK teacher, administrator and appropriate personnel will conduct a developmental benchmark screening with the child and the parent/caregiver.

5.2.  Any parent wishing their child be enrolled in a PreK program can fill out an application for admission form (AF 304 PreK Application Form). Should the child be accepted into the PreK program, the application form will be used to register the child into the program.
5.3.  Children may be recommended by other agencies but are not required to have a recommendation to apply to any PreK program.
5.4.  After the Developmental Benchmark screening, a team composed of the Administrator, the teacher, the Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning Services, and other employees within Horizon School Division in direct contact with the school, child, or family will convene to interpret the data and determine priority of acceptance into the program.
5.5.  A home visit or parent meeting may be completed prior to the selection meeting if the PreK teacher feels more information is required  or if a child moves into the school’s geographical area after the benchmark screening event has occurred.
5.6.  Prioritized wait lists based on vulnerability criteria will be established when there are inadequate spaces available in a PreK program.
5.7.  Prioritized wait lists based on vulnerability criteria will be established when there are inadequate spaces available in a PreK program.
5.8.  PreK programs are ministerially funded for sixteen student spaces. To support families in planning, PreK teachers should notify up to fourteen families prior to the end of June to indicate their child has been accepted into PreK for fall.
5.9.  Two spaces should be kept open per class for the month of September to ensure PreK programs are able to accommodate vulnerable children that may have been missed or are new to the community. By mid- October the empty spaces should be filled with children from the prioritized wait list.

5.10.  In cases where PreK programs are not filled to capacity, the teacher will actively collaborate with community agencies throughout the school year to search for additional students who meet vulnerability criteria. 
5.11.  For students with intensive needs, the decision regarding whether they will attend PreK should be established in spring and can be decided before the selection meeting in collaboration with involved agencies and families. This is to ensure proactive planning occurs regarding accessibility, transportation, Inclusion and Intervention Plan (IIP) development, and required supports. Family involvement is pivotal to an effective PreK program. PreK staff will actively engage parents/caregivers in the development and education of their children. In an ongoing process to support parents/caregivers, staff will provide opportunities to enhance their knowledge of child development and their role in supporting such development.
5.12.  PreK programs are mandated to operate twelve to fifteen hours per week. PreK teachers will submit start and end dates and hours of operation to their administrator annually to be approved by the Director of Education or designate.

5.13.  Fridays are designated days for family engagement. PreK teachers should hold one or two family events per month in consultation with their administrator. The administrator may, with discretion and in consultation with the Superintendent of Student Services, reassign instructional time for those days for extenuating circumstances.

6.  Horizon School Division values smooth transitions, appropriate placement, and responsive programming for PreK students as indicated in the following guidelines:

6.1.  A general transition meeting shall occur in spring between the PreK and Kindergarten teachers for all students transitioning to Kindergarten.

6.2.  For students with intensive needs transitioning to Kindergarten, the Supervisor of Student Services, PreK teacher, and Student Support teacher will arrange a transition meeting early in spring and invite the current team, receiving team, and parents/caregivers.

6.3.  Decisions regarding delaying Kindergarten entrance must be made in consultation between the PreK teacher, parents/caregivers, administrator, and the Superintendent of Student Services. Factors to consider include the child’s social-emotional maturity, birthdate, exposure to play and early learning experiences, space availability in the program, and whether remaining in PreK is the best environment to meet their needs. When children have delays that will not be improved by extra time in PreK, they should transition to Kindergarten with their age cohort.

6.4.  Blended programming may be considered as an option as a transition to Kidergarten. Blended programming options will only be considered through consultation and approval by the Superintendent of Student Services.

6.5.  An Inclusion and Intervention Plan (IIP) is required for children in need of continuing interventions, individualized supports, or who are involved with a number of agencies. The Supervisor of Student Services should be consulted when school staff members are unsure of whether a child requires an IIP.

6.6.  When a child with intense needs transitions into PreK during the school year and has a current Integrated Family Services Plan (IFSP) in place through involved agencies, it is sufficient to implement this plan and upload it to Clevr to be used to develop an IIP for the upcoming year as outlined by the Student Services Department.

7.  Child Safety is of utmost priority in transporting children to and/or from school.

7.1.  PreK children will only be released to a designated adult/caregiver or sibling. Children will not be released to travel unassisted from school to home.

7.2.  Transportation of PreK students is provided for one direction as designated by the school administrator. All Horizon buses will comply with AP 550 – Student Bus Scheduling and Safety.

7.3.  A child attending a PreK program will either be picked up and transported to the school at the start of the day or program, or transported to their home from the school at the end of the program.  Parents are responsible for either drop off or pick up from the school. Only those adults who have been approved by the legal caregiver or other legal processes will be allowed to pick up the child from school. Children living outside of the school’s designated geographical boundaries will be transported to and from the school by their parent or caregiver.

7.4.  A child will only be dropped off when there is a responsible adult or caregiver to receivethe child. Where there is no adult or caregiver of age at the point of drop-off, the child will be returned to the school for parent/caregiver pick up.

7.5.  PreK students may be transported in private vehicles for approved field trips in accordance with Horizon School Division AP 561 – Driver Authorization for Transportation.


References:
Play and Exploration; Early Learning Program Guide (2013)
Essential Learning Experiences for three, four and five-year-olds (2015)
Prekindergarten Essentials: Effective Practices Policy and Guidelines for Prekindergarten in Saskatchewan (2017)
Better Beginnings, Better Futures, Effective Practices, Policy and Guidelines for Prekindergarten in Saskatchewan
Family Engagement in Prekindergarten: A resource Guide for Prekindergarten teachers and associates (2012)
Creating Early Learning Environments into Practice Booklet: Supplement to Play and Exploration (2009)
Horizon PreK Application AF-304

November 29, 2018