Putnam County Schools Pre-K Program Gets Kids Ready To Learn

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

The Voluntary Pre-K for Tennessee Initiative provides four-year-old children in Tennessee an opportunity to develop school readiness skills (pre-academic and social skills). First priority for this program goes to those four-year-olds who are at-risk in some way.

Voluntary Pre-K classes promote a high quality academic environment, which fosters the love and joy of learning and promotes success in kindergarten and throughout the child's life.

Curious about what kids are learning in Pre-K these days? Join WCTE’s Get Ready To Learn radio show host Cindy Putman and special co-host Wendy Davis, a Pre-K teacher in the Putnam County School Systems as she shares how her 20 Pre-K students at Algood Middle School spend their days. Davis explains that her teaching strategy for her Pre-K class is aligned with the following Tennessee standards.

Early Learning Developmental Standards (TN-ELDS)

The Tennessee Early Childhood Education Early Learning Developmental Standards, or TN-ELDS, were first developed in 2004 to provide documentation of the continuum of developmental milestones from birth through age five based on the research about the processes, sequences, and long term consequences of early learning and development.

The standards for 4 year-olds were revised and adopted by the State Board of Education in August 2012. These revised standards provide a direct alignment with the content areas found in Tennessee’s state English language arts and mathematics standards as well as the Tennessee state standards for kindergarten.

The birth-48 months standards were revised in 2013 and adopted by the State Board of Education in January 2014. These revised standards continue to be a resource for educators, child care providers, and families who work with children in this age range.

For more information about Pre-K standards check out this article.

On this episode of the Get Ready To Learn radio show, Davis discusses the importance of structure and consistency in the life of a 4 year old. The typical school day begins with the child signing in with his or her name, as well as calendar time, math, literacy, learning and fun.
A typical day continues with the child exploring the world around them, learning to write using the “ball and stick method,” understanding concepts about math through visuals, understanding 2D and 3D shapes, as well as vocabulary words such as sphere, cone, cylinder, vortex in Math lessons.
Davis explains that a squiggle on paper makes letters. Letters on paper make words. Words give us information and make sentences. Sentences tell stories. Stories allow us to communicate through speaking, reading, and writing. And this is how we navigate through the world around us.
An emphasis is also placed on Core Knowledge, which is divided into different modules, including but not limited to the following:
  • All About Me

  • Family

  • Animals & Plants Habitats

  • Important People in U.S. History

According to the website for the Core Knowledge Foundation, “By giving all children an equal opportunity to learn essential academic knowledge and skills through a well-rounded, content-rich curriculum, Core Knowledge closes the opportunity gap.” For more about the Pre-K modules, click here.

Between the ages of three and five, children can begin to organize items into different categories and compare the results to answer a question, such as which group has more. For example, children might put all the brown socks in one pile, all the white socks in another, and all the black socks in a third pile. By age five, many can look at the size of the piles they made to answer the question: Which color sock is most common in our family?

During the fourth year, many children figure out that some things can only be answered or understood after they test it themselves. For example, if a child is told that the cloth ball just picked up won’t really bounce, the child is most likely to try bouncing it several times to see if this is true.

Throughout the fourth year, children are figuring out the meanings of words such as  “certain,”  “sure,”  “uncertain,”  “unsure,”  “likely,”  “probable,”  “unlikely,”  “improbable,”  “maybe,”  “possible,”  and  “impossible.”

Many children at this age begin to understand the likelihood or chance of an event happening. For instance, they will know that it is unlikely that it will snow in summer, or that it is unlikely that they will catch a ball every time it is thrown to them.

When guided by an adult, many five-year-olds can understand simple graphs and use the information to answer questions. So by looking at a bar graph showing what pets their friends own, they can tell which animal is the most popular pet. They can also figure out information from pictures, such as looking at animal families of different sizes and declaring which family has more babies.

Young children are naturally curious. They have an itch to explore their world and figure out how things work. And parents have compelling reasons to foster this inherent inquisitiveness.

Curiosity is tied to academic achievement, with research showing “unequivocally that when people are curious about something, they learn more, and better.” 

Curious about where you child is developmentally? Check out http://www.pbs.org/parents/ and the great free child development tracker.

Looking for some guided activities for your child to extend learning at home? Click here to learn more.

Putnam County Schools are offering free classes for parents to help increase success in school. Dates for these 3-4 year old classes are listed here.


Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM. 



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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

  • Using Media as a learning tool
  • Using PBS kids apps to extend learning
  • How to be your child’s first teacher
  • Sesame Street Workshops
  • How does poverty effect a child’s brain
  • Literacy and Math
  • Brain Development

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