[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    August 14, 2009

Strong Beginnings class prepares pre-kindergartners for success

Child, Youth and School Services (CYSS) staff members at the Fort McCoy Child Development Center (CDC) are gearing up to introduce the Strong Beginnings program Sept. 1, which will help prepare pre-kindergartners for kindergarten.

"A lot of children in that age group need to improve their classroom management skills," said Cindy Storkel, Fort McCoy Child, Youth and School Services (CYSS) Training and Curriculum specialist. "This program will help them learn those skills to be successful upon entering kindergarten. It is being introduced throughout the Army so it will make this training standardized."

Graphic: Strong Beginnings.

Children in military daycare tend to have very good social skills. Storkel said the Strong Beginnings program is being implemented to improve the management skills of pre-kindergartners to match their civilian counterparts, and the curriculum also focuses on academic skills, such as math and literacy.

Chelsey Smith, McCoy CDC director, said the program will have the same eligibility requirements as children attending the CDC.

Participants in the pre-kindergarten class must turn 4 years old on or before Sept. 1 at the beginning of a school year.

"The children who are enrolled full time (at CDC) automatically will participate in the Strong Beginnings program," Smith said. "The part-time children can participate as space is available."

Smith said the day for full-time children will begin with their weekday care with wrap-around care from 7:30-8:30 a.m., before they attend the Strong Beginnings class from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

The day will end with wrap-around care from 11:30 a.m.-end of the day.

The Strong Beginnings class will mirror the school year with its Sept. 1 start date.

Storkel said the program will be closed on federal holidays.

This will include the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving and a break for Christmas Dec. 23-Jan. 3, 2010.

The programís last scheduled date for the 2009-10 school year is June 3.

Smith said the pre-kindergarten room will include furniture and equipment to make it look more like a school classroom.

"With the new facility, we can see a potential for future growth in this program and other CDC programs," Smith said.

The Strong Beginnings program supports the Army Community Covenant and Army Family Covenant. The program supports the Army Community Covenantís promise that the strength of Soldiers comes from the strength of their families. The program supports the Army Family Covenant by ensuring excellence in schools, youth services and child care.

For more information about the program, call the CYSS at 608-388-4124/2238.

Basic information also is available at the Web site http://www.mccoymwr.com, by clicking on the Child, Youth and School Services program.


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