Education Starts Early in Warren City Schools

WCS buddies

School no longer starts in kindergarten. Children and their families across Warren now can get an academic edge, become familiar with the school they will attend, and start play time as early as age three.

Warren City Schools now offers 10 total preschool classrooms throughout the traditional academic year: an all-day program at each of the four PK-8 schools—Jefferson, Lincoln, McGuffey, and Willard—for four year olds, and both morning and afternoon half day programs at each of these schools as well as two more at Warren G. Harding High School for three- and four-year-old children. All preschools have earned the highest 5-star Step Up To Quality rating from State of Ohio, with each lead teacher holding at least a Bachelors degree in their field, and supported by a highly qualified assistant teacher.

Serving more than 300 children, the preschool program provides an early head start for more than 60% of the district’s kindergarten students. And it’s inclusive, offering free door-to-door transportation and tuition for any City of Warren resident. Most begin preschool in the same building they’ll soon be attending for nearly a decade. “It’s important to start kids at their neighborhood school. They and their families become immediately familiar with the building, our teachers and staff, and our policies, reducing transitions they might otherwise have to make later between academic programs,” said Kelly Hutchison, Warren City Schools Preschool Coordinator.

The literacy-based standards-driven program focuses on learning through play, with emphasis on social and emotional learning, oral language, shared reading, and early math skills. It begins with a Reggio Emilia inspired approach, which values every child as strong, capable and resilient—rich with wonder and knowledge. Preschool children construct their own learning, shaping it through the exploration of and reflection on experiences. These experiences allow these children to form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through interactions with others. The surrounding environment acts as another teacher, with adults serving as mentors and guides, as this hands-on discovery learning lets children use all their senses to express their ideas through actual and symbolic languages.

Within this approach, using Literacy Beginnings framework, preschool students own curiosity and excitement are engaged in unique month-long project-based experiences to build a shared community of learners. From farming to construction to human anatomy, teachers build each month’s entire curriculum, infused with tons of arts and activities, to observe, explore, and understand each given topic. These projects are inclusive of business and community partners as well. To extend the learning experience, every student also receives a book aligned with the monthly topic every two weeks, not just for classroom use but also to take home permanently with corresponding games and enrichment activities to be completed with their parents.

Students learn how to make the world a better place, too, through Warren Kids CARE. Funded in part by a Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership Warren SOUP micro-grant, some students volunteer by caring for local senior communities while others take collections to support youth at Akron Children’s Hospital. The preschool programs also regularly engage out of the classroom with a variety of other community and service agencies, such as Warren-Trumbull County Public Library and Trumbull Art Gallery, among others.

This coming academic year, Warren City Schools are expanding the preschool program by hiring a new Family Liaison. In addition to general day-to-day support and traditional home visits between preschool teachers and their students and families, the new staffer will help parents create positive learning environments at home, cultivate impactful parental engagement in their child’s school and activities, and make connections for them with essential community and social resources. The Family Liaison will also be organizing a new preschool parents group to deepen community relationships and provide essential feedback.

“All of our preschool’s growth and refinement now help us build more personal relationships, increase student stability, and better prepare them for kindergarten,” said Hutchison. “We are always expanding opportunities for our families and with our community partners.”

Warren City Schools Preschool space remains available for 2017-218 academic year. Register by calling (330) 675-4321.