Parents know the importance of making sure their children are learning as preschoolers and getting ready for Kindergarten.
Little Prairie Preschool (LPP) at Benton Central Jr.-Sr. High School (BC) offers several Preschool and Pre K programs for children. As a community preschool, enrollment is open to all. The handy location on State Road 52 has allowed parents from as far away as Indianapolis to drop off their children on the way to work in the area.
Katie Thornbrough has enrolled both her sons in LPP for five years, “I’ve watched my boys learn from LPP what we struggled to grasp at home, and saw their confidence in themselves grow. I just don’t have enough good things to say about our experiences there. We are so lucky to have this awesome resource in our community!” She shared that Mrs. Bri has a unique ability to connect with the kids and has created a fun learning environment that truly prepares them for Kindergarten. The high school students in the class offer many opportunities for one on one learning, which lends a huge boost to the children’s social and academic development.
Lauren Weigle has enrolled three of her children in LPP and said she is amazed at the things the children have learned. They are always excited to show at home what they have learned at LPP, “There is a different theme for each week that includes activities, books, and learning three sign language signs. I value that each week’s theme incorporates activities that work to improve fine motor coordination, promote problem solving skills, increase social skills, and teach the kids to manage their emotions.”
Weigle said the weekly jobs instill a sense of leadership and the show and tell rotation enhances their communication skills. Weigle shared that Little Prairie Preschool was the perfect bridge for her shy son before going to Kindergarten, “He excelled and we immediately fell in love with the structure in Mrs. Bri’s classroom.” Weigle said that he was challenged at his own rate and behaviorally he began to come out of his shell. She continues to appreciate Mrs. Bri and her staff, including the high school students.
Sam Holscher has had her children enrolled in LPP for six years. She said that the preschool has prepared her daughters to transition with ease to Kindergarten, “Mrs. Bri keeps the classroom rotating with new creative outlets each week for the children, while also maintaining structure and consistency in their learning.” She cites the high school students who provide one on one and small group fun social interactions and guidance; they are truly role models for the little ones.
Little Prairie Preschool at BC offers a safe, fun, academic environment for children who are three to five years old. Mrs. Bri Weitlauf is a fully licensed Early Childhood Education teacher and has been the LPP director since 2009. BC juniors and seniors enrolled in the class may receive Ivy Tech as well as high school credits. The LPP Board of Directors supports the preschool.
Preschool and Pre K students may enroll in one of five programs:
1. All Day, Every Day: for 3-5 year olds, 5 full days M-F, 7:30-5:00, $28 per day
2. Pre K Plus: for 4-5 year olds, 3 full days MWF, 7:30-5:00, $29 per day
3. Preschool Plus: for 3 year olds, 2 full days TTh, 7:30-5:00, $29 per day
4. Pre K: for 4-5 year olds, 3 half days MWF, 7:30-11:00, $17.50 per day
5. Preschool: for 3 year olds, 2 half days TTh, 7:30-11:00, $18 per day Drop off and pick up times are flexible to fit family schedules
A discount is available for siblings Sessions are mixed ages
Full day programs include 2 snacks and 1 lunch; half day programs include 1 snack cooked on site
Children are often enrolled for more than one year. LPP is enrolling now for 2022-2023. Contact Mrs. Bri Weitlauf at BC. Call 765-884-1600, extension 2133 or email email@example.com
TEACHING AND LEARNING PRE K STANDARDS
There is always a weekly curriculum focus such as science, along with academic and behavioral developmental goals based on the Indiana Pre K Standards. General goals are planned in seven domains: adaptive/ self-help skills, gross motor, fine motor, aesthetics; cognitive, language, and social. Meals meet federal nutrition food group standards: protein, fruit, vegetable, grain, and dairy. Children may request second helpings. Snacks include milk, grain, fruit or vegetable, and cheese. The children said they like trying different foods and have tried new things like broccoli and tomatoes.
The weekly lesson plan, free play activities chart, and daily schedule are provided to parents. Each day there are two group times and two table times. Group activities include four themed books daily, experiments, phonics, spelling, vocabulary, and movement. Group time offers an opportunity for children to use previously learned skills and put them all together. Free Play Activities include: writing, building, dramatic play, technology area, sensory tables, math/science, manipulative, and stations. Recess is outdoors when weather permits and the playground features updated equipment. The Little Prairie Preschool Periodical is a monthly newsletter that contains specific information about developmental skills, academic skills, and program details for parents, guardians, and caregivers. The high school students said they use the newsletter to review the skills and activities as part of their assignments.
The children are happy to tell about their favorite activities and areas of the classroom. The grocery area and water table are popular. They said that they like to play with blocks, read books, and color. The children shared that they remember to “make good choices, be nice, help others, be buddies, listen, and say please and thank you.”
Many of the BC juniors and seniors enrolled in the LPP class said that they want to work with children as a career. Several are interested in becoming teachers, counselors, and social workers. They shared that their interactions with the children are not only social, but academic, such as helping them learn to write their names, letters, letter sounds, words, numbers, shapes, colors, cut, tell time, and read if ready, etc.
The high school students said that they find the class interesting and they like the journal assignments to reflect on teaching and learning. Article reviews are also required to look at research about early learning topics. Each week, the high school students document how they have taught a specific skill and how the children learned the skill. Goal sheets for each child are used to plan for best practices and record objective observations. The end of the school year is very different from the beginning; skills are well developed and attention spans have grown.