Music, movement helping pre-K students to learn

Submitted Report

Movement and music make for a fun day for 118 pre-K students at Scudder Primary School at Wimberley ISD, and it is a proven way to teach this 3- to 4-year-old age group.

While these fast-moving and always-thinking students run, jump and slide all around the gym floor, it’s not only in P.E. that they are constantly moving.

“This is not just sit and get. Everything we are teaching students involves music and movement to keep them engaged, having fun and of course learning, sometimes without realizing how much they have picked up in the process,” said Jessica Buck, Scudder Primary pre-K 3 teacher.

Buck and other teachers often teach children from the same family. Tate Harris, is a graduate of pre-K 3 and 4 at Scudder and now his younger sister, Madison, is in pre-K 4. Their mom, Amanda Harris, credits the structured early education with both preparing her children for their first day of kindergarten and providing them with the foundation to succeed.

“It has been a huge jumpstart,” said Harris.

“Both of my children have really shown amazing skills in math and reading. Not only that, they became familiar with the structure of a school environment, including socialization and accountability at a very young age. You can never learn that too soon,”she added.

Scudder offers seven pre-K classes, including two 3-year-old classes, a bilingual 3- to 4-year-old combined class and four 4-year-old classes. The program is led by Scudder principal Dara Richardson, who, implements a curriculum program complemented by special classes of P.E., art and computer. Certified teachers are bringing to life the rich curriculum with a focus on uniquely-themed centers in each classroom, learning syllables, sounding out letters, number identification and counting skills.

“We want them to enjoy coming to school, and develop a love of learning,” said Richardson.

“And we want them to learn and be completely ready for kindergarten. We are thrilled to be hearing from our kindergarten teachers that these young pre-K graduates are hitting the classroom ready, knowing their letter sounds and rhyming, two important precursors to reading” she added.

Harris agrees. She has been extremely pleased at the things her son knows and it comes up during daily activities.

“Tate was already reading in kindergarten. It blows my mind. Now in first grade, he is reading menus when we go out to eat, just from everything he has learned from being in the pre-K program,” said Harris.

Three-year-old Scudder pre-K student, Cailee Davis, also surprises her mother with some impressive skills.

“It’s only been since August and she knows how to spell her name and uses some big words when talking to me,” said Maggie Davis, Cailee’s mom.

Davis admits it was hard to let her go to school at such a young age, but Cailee took to it immediately and now that she is witnessing everything her daughter is learning, she is so glad that she let her go.

“In comparing her to my older daughter, who did not attend pre-K, the learning difference is drastic, and she loves coming to school every day. She is happy and comes home singing the songs she learns during the day,” said Davis.

Because of the structure, certified teachers and curriculum-based learning in Scudder pre-K, the students are now learning at a younger age, skills that were more commonly part of kindergarten education. The Scudder program is based on The Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) Scholastic Big Day for Pre-K at McGovern Medical School at UT Health, the preeminent resource for learning solutions that produce tested, proven, effective results through scientific research and evidence-based interviews.

“I love playing and running and my favorite is the centers. It’s fun here,” said Maddie as she catches her breath from playing a running game in the gym during P.E.

Parents are part of the fabric of Scudder Primary School volunteering often and in all areas. It creates a harmony that is critical to the success of the school and specifically, the pre-K students.

“The staff at Scudder make it feel like home here to us and our children. It is so welcoming and it is a blessing to have such a caring staff that plays a huge role in our children’s lives. You can’t help but want to be involved,” said Davis.

An added, but critical facet to the pre-K program are two-week water safety classes. The students travel to the Dripping Springs YMCA for a lesson that could save their lives.

“At Wimberley ISD we are very well aware that we have a creek and a river in our community and through this program, the District’s hope is that we could prevent a drowning,” said Richardson.

The water safety initiative deploys the resources afforded by a nonprofit organization called Colin’s Hope which has a mission to raise water safety awareness to prevent children from drowning. Find out more at colinshope.org.

The pre-K3 and pre-K4 programs are full-day from 7:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. and either tuition-based or free for students who qualify.

The $530 a month charge for the pre-K3 program and the $500 for the pre-K4 program pay for staff and certified teacher salaries.

For more information on the Scudder Primary School Pre-K Program, call 512-847-3407.

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