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IN THE KNOW: Learn at Preschool Open House

What's all the buzz about preschool? From a national, statewide and local standpoint, we hear more frequently about the need for, or the value of preschool for our young children. What isn't widely understood is why there is a growing emphasis on preschool.

Research shows that providing high quality education for children before they turn 5 yields significant long-term benefits. Preschool participation can benefit children's learning and development in literacy and language, numeracy, prewriting, and perceptual motor skills. Other educational advantages include more positive social skills.

Alexandria Public Schools Preschool, a program of Alexandria Public Schools Community Education, began in 1982. Our preschool program is designed to create excitement around education for your child and provide a foundation for lifelong learning.

Our district has created a high-quality program with you and your family in mind. The Early Education Center (EEC), adjacent to Woodland Elementary, offers several options for preschool age children to fit your family schedule with the same standards of excellence and success as all of the Alexandria Public Schools.

Did you know:

• Alexandria Public Schools Preschool aligns our curriculum, staff development training, and early childhood special education services with the overall K-12 system.

• Our curriculum is a balanced approach of all social-emotional and academic areas.

• We focus on personalized learning for your child with lessons designed around your child's skills to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

• All preschool classes use Opening the World of Learning comprehensive curriculum.

• Our program includes science and music specialists.

• Our Early Education Center has received a 4-star Parent Aware rating, the highest rating possible. This means that as a four-star program, the EEC is excelling in the use of practices that best prepare children for kindergarten.

• 42.9 percent of our teachers have more than 10 years of experience.

Our preschool program will help your child discover a love for learning in an interactive, stimulating, and academically rich environment.

Here's what a typical preschool day would look like:

• Opening circle: songs, sharing, stories and calendar.

• Choice time: free play, art projects and games.

• Reading readiness: alliteration, phonemic awareness, letter recognition, rhyming.

• Indoor recess or playground: free play and organized games.

• Math: numbers, counting, sorting and grouping.

• Art and music: individual expression and creativity.

• Science: exploration of nature, plants, animals and weather.

You are your child's first teacher and we want to partner with you to support you during these early learning years. We encourage all families to consider preschool, whether Alexandria Public Schools or another option, for all preschool children. If you would like to discover what Alexandria Public Schools has to offer in our preschool programs, consider attending our preschool open house event on Sunday, Feb. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. There will be the chance to meet our licensed teachers, register on-site, obtain scholarship information available for families that qualify, and participate in many fun activities including science experiments, literacy activities, a bouncy house, and Musikgarten.

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"In the Know" is a rotating column written by community leaders from the Douglas County area.