RACINE COUNTY — The early years in a child’s life are a critical time for development and learning. The benefits of structured early childhood learning opportunities include strengthening socialization skills, gaining a sense of self, exploring and questioning the world and building confidence. In Racine County, there are many early childhood education opportunities available to families.

The Burlington Area School District started its tuition-free 4K program in 2014, partnering with community preschool sites that had more than 30 years of early childhood experience.

Based on the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards, the 4K curriculum creates play-based experiences that explore music, art, and gross motor activities as well as literacy, math, science and social studies.

Families have many 4K options in Burlington. Elementary schools offer half-day traditional programs and one Montessori program. The three community sites give parents the option of all day care with half-day 4K.

Children need to be age 4 on or before September 1 to enroll. For more information, contact Jackey Syens, BASD 4K Program Coordinator, at 262-539-2726.

Racine Unified early learning options

The Racine Unified School District offers many different Early Learning Program options. All of the programs place an emphasis on the development of the whole child, a safe environment for children and families, and allowing parents to partner in their child’s learning

For children who are 3 by September 1, RUSD offers the Parent Child Orientated Classroom (PCOC) at two district sites and the Montessori program at Goodland. In the PCOC program, parents attend school with their child one day per week to be actively involved in their child’s learning.

The program runs Monday through Thursday during a morning or afternoon session and some Fridays of the school year. In the Montessori program, children attend five days per week, in a multi-age classroom setting, during the morning only. In both programs children learn early literacy, math, social-emotional, and motor skills necessary to support school readiness.

For children who are 4 by September 1, we offer 4K classrooms at nearly every elementary school in the district. There are half day and full day options at some sites. All our classrooms are staffed by highly qualified teachers who are committed to providing a high quality education for every child. We also partner with various community 4K programs to offer options that fit every family’s need.

For more information or to enroll in any RUSD Early Learning Program, please contact the 4K Office at 262-664-8201.

Julie Thomas is the communications coordinator for the Burlington Area School District. Amy Shepherd is interim director of Early Learning/Montessori program director for the Racine Unified School District.

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