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Georgia's Pre-K program: Rules and Guidelines

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2005

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

Children four years of age on or before Sept.1, whose parents are Georgia residents are eligible to attend the Georgia's Pre-K Program this school year.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED

During the registration process, parents will be asked to supply the following documents:

Proof of age - certified birth certificate

Pre-school/Child Care Immunization Certificate (DHR form #3231 signed and dated)

Certificate of Ear, Eye, and Dental Examination (DHR form #3300)

Social Security number - may be waived if a parent signs a statement objecting to the requirement

Proof of residency (gas, water, electrical bill)

Proof of guardianship if not biological parent

Information indicating eligibility for additional financial assistance

REGISTRATION

Registration is held during the spring at announced times throughout the county. To register to attend Pre-K at a particular school, the child must reside with his/her parent(s) or legal guardian(s) in that attendance zone as indicated by the county. A lottery is held to determine the children who have the opportunity to participate. A waiting list is maintained once the available slots are filled. Representatives from child care centers are extended the opportunity to be present at schools to help place children, who are not selected through the lottery, in slots available at the private centers.

Note: A list of approved prekindergarten program providers and their sites is available through Bright from the Start: Department of Early Care and Learning.

(1-888-4GA-PREK or www.osr.state.ga.us./)

FIELD TRIPS

Preschoolers have the opportunity to participate in a number of educational field trips. Notice of field trips will be sent home in bookbags. All children must have written permission to go on these trips. There should be no cost associated with field trips. Parents are invited to go on most trips.

DISCIPLINE PLAN

Being able to follow rules and understand consequences are vital parts of education. Learning how to live and work together enhances a child's positive self-image.

Rules of Preschoolers

Be kind to others.

Take good care of the school.

Listen to and follow directions.

Every effort is made to catch a child being good. Good behaviors are praised and encouraged.

The children are always told how special they are and how much they are loved. Teachers affirm that children are acceptable; however, sometimes their behavior is not. When inappropriate behavior occurs, positive steps are taken to assist the child in gaining control of his/her behavior. If the inappropriate behavior continues or is severe, contact will be made and maintained with his/her parents/guardians until the behavior improves. No preschooler will be paddled. However, if a child is very much out of control, he/she may be sent home. Both child and parent are responsible to follow all individual school rules, policies, and procedures.

ATTENDANCE

The school day is the regularly scheduled school day. All children are expected to come to school each day. If your child becomes ill at home before leaving for school, please keep him/her at home.Regular attendance is important in order for your child to realize the maximum benefit from the program. Excessive absences will be addressed by the principal/resource worker and/or the director. According to the guidelines, any child who is absent for two consecutive weeks, without a medical (doctor's excuse needed) or other reasonable explanation, must be removed from the roster.

TARDINESS

Children should arrive at school on time. On the rare occasion when your child is tardy (late), sign in at the office, then follow your school's procedure for getting your child to his/her classroom. According to the guidelines, any child who is tardy for two consecutive weeks, without a medical (doctor's excuse needed) or other reasonable explanation, must be removed from the roster.

Never drop your child off at school and leave unless school personnel are there to greet the child.

APPROPRIATE DRESS FOR SCHOOL

Preschool is a very active place to learn. Children paint, glue, play in sand and water and, weather permitting, play outdoors every day. Therefore, sturdy, comfortable, washable clothes are necessary. This allows the children to become actively involved in all activities. Make sure your child's clothes are easy to pull up and down for bathroom needs. Tennis shoes seem to work best for all activities. Flipflops, clogs, etc. are not safe footwear for school.

Remember that we go outside everyday, if the weather permits. Your child should always have a sweater or jacket available for cool days and classroom temperature comfort. Light clothing is necessary when it gets hot. Please write your child's name on all clothes that the child can take off at school. (ex. jackets, sweaters)

ITEMS TO SEND TO SCHOOL

Each child should have available a change of clothes for the appropriate season, including underwear and socks. If your child uses the spare clothes, kindly remember to send replacements. Your child will also need a bookbag and a folder of some type to carry notes and art work. This bag needs to be checked daily for notes from your child's teacher or resource worker. Your child's work will be sent home regularly in his/her bookbag.

ITEMS NOT TO SEND TO SCHOOL

It is best not to send toys or personal items to school on a regular basis with a child. It is almost impossible for school personnel to be responsible for a child's favorite toy when it is so easy for toys to be broken or misplaced among the toys in the classroom. However, there are times when it is appropriate for children to bring items for "show and tell."

MEALS AND SNACKS

Breakfast and lunch are available for all students at regular, reduced, and free rates. All Pre-K students go to breakfast and lunch. Therefore, if your child is not eating breakfast, you may want to send a snack. Nutritious snacks are provided to all preschoolers daily. Free or reduced lunch forms may be obtained from your school.

TRANSPORTATION FOR PRE-K STUDENTS

Prior to the first day of school, parents should check the school's schedule and, if the child is a bus rider, the approximate time for pickup. This information will be available in the July issue of the Columbia County Special Edition and on the Columbia County Schools Web site.

Transportation for Pre-K students is arranged upon request through the Columbia County Transportation Department. However, for Pre-K students, a parent or responsible person must wait with the child and help him board the bus in the morning as well as be there in the afternoon to receive the child. If no parent/responsible person is waiting for the child in the afternoon, the child is subject to be taken to the local police department. Transportation will be terminated if no adult is present for pick up and delivery. No preschooler will be allowed to walk to and from school with brothers and sisters.



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