Morgan County Schools
Pre-K Program Handbook
Success for All!
The Morgan County Pre-K Program works in partnership with families and the community in order to provide a high quality and developmentally appropriate early childhood education program that strives to identify and meet the diverse needs of each participating student. Our mission requires that we provide developmentally sound methods of instruction, which are based on solid research, in order to educate the whole child.
The Morgan County Pre-Schools is a full-time program. The hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. each day. Attendance is tracked on the school computer system. The Tennessee Department of Education guidelines do not allow for part-time attendance.
Arrival and Departure
Pre-K students can be transported to school by parents or they may ride a school bus if they live on a designated route.
Students are transported by their parents:
a) Parent/guardian must walk students into the building and check in with the Pre-K teacher/assistant. The parent should sign the student in when dropping the student off.
b) When picking students up parent/guardian must enter the building and sign the sheet to check the student out.
Students transported by bus:
a) A Pre-K teacher/assistant will meet the bus upon arrival at the school. The teacher/assistant will initial the driver’s log sheet when collecting the children from the bus each morning.
b) Drivers will initial the driver’s log sheet when accepting children onto the bus each afternoon.
c) All Pre-K students are required to sit in the front two seats on the bus.
d) Parents/guardians will be required to come to the bus door and initial driver’s log sheet before the child is allowed to exit the bus on the afternoon run. Students will not be allowed to off the bus if a parent/guardian is not present. The student’s home school will be contacted and arrangements made to bring the student back to school.
e) Teachers/assistants will keep an extra copy on hand of the driver’s log sheet to present to driver in the event of a substitute driver.
f) Teachers will collect the driver’s log sheet on the first of each month. Log sheets will be forwarded to the Pre-K office by the 5th of each month.
It is very important that your child is not left waiting for his or her ride in the evening, as this can be very upsetting for a child. A written note is required in advance if your child is to be picked up by anyone other than the parent or those indicated on the emergency information sheet.
Late Arrival:It is very important for your child to arrive on time each morning. As we are an early childhood education program and not a childcare center, our staff creates very in-depth lesson plans for each day. It is unfortunate when children miss out on exciting activities. Tardiness is an undesirable habit for lifelong school attendance. Attendance is taken at 8:30 a.m. Students who arrive after the start of school must be escorted to the classroom by parents/ guardians to sign-in.
Daily lesson plans are designed around the Tennessee Early Learning Developmental Standards (TN-ELDS). These standards are written to provide high quality, developmentally appropriate early learning experiences for children before they begin kindergarten. TN-ELDS Developmental Standards for Four Year-Olds include developmental standards in:
a) Approaches to Learning
b) Social and Emotional Development
c) Language and Early Literacy
f) Social Studies
g) Creative Arts
h) Physical Development
Each day is planned to provide hands-on experiences that develop and support a child’s love and joy of learning. The classroom environment creates a safe, nurturing and supportive place for young children to explore these new learning opportunities and to set the foundation for future learning in the years to come. Your child’s teacher will provide you with information on classroom activities throughout the year to keep you informed on what your child is learning about throughout the year.
To accomplish all of this in Pre-K, your child’s teacher will need your support to learn about your child and his/her interests. This will help the teacher build on what your child is already comfortable with and to also expand his knowledge of new things. The teacher will also provide suggestions and ideas for ways to help your child continue to grow and learn at home.
Progress monitoring is ongoing as teachers observe and work with students. Progress is reported through daily notes and progress reports during the year. Teachers maintain a portfolio for each child to assist in progress reporting. Checklists of mastered skills and teacher observation notes are also used to document and report students’ progress. Parents are encouraged to interact with teachers to keep up with their child’s progress on a daily/weekly basis.
Steps to Helping Children Learn At Home:
a) Read to your child every night. Ask questions and discuss the story as you read.
b) Keep lots of reading materials around your home.
c) Be sure your child gets 9-10 hours of sleep at night.
d) Look at everything your child brings home from school. Praise progress and effort.
e) Limit TV and video game time. Be sure what your child watches is appropriate. Do not use the television as a babysitter.
f) Have conversations with your child. Listen and discuss things going on in their lives. Real conversation increases language skills. Don’t just give directions.
g) Do your best to keep your child healthy. Limit the junk food they eat. The habit of washing their hands after they go to the bathroom and before they eat is important.
h) Have a positive attitude about school.
i) Remember to lead by example.
Those parents who have custody issues should consult with an attorney regarding legal protection for their children. To assist us in protecting the rights of you and your child, please provide to the Principal at the school any court documents that are relevant to the visitation and rights of parents.
Discipline is an attitude that begins at home, is reinforced at school, and is applied throughout one’s life. The policies and procedures concerning discipline are designed to promote the safety, health, and well-being of each child. The development of self-discipline, self-esteem, and responsibility is perceived as an ongoing process in a child’s growth, and is an integral part of school success. Children are encouraged to problem-solve and cooperate. Positive behavior in the class will be encouraged through modeling, reinforcement, redirecting, and the use of alternate activities. Parents will be informed if their child is having adjustment difficulties. The staff will work with parents to address the situation in a positive manner.
We recommend washable play clothes and clothes that the children can easily handle. An extra change of clothes will need to stay at school and change with the season. We recommend tennis shoes for playground activities. Names should be written on all removable clothing.
Students should dress and groom in a clean, neat, and modest manner, so as not to distract or interfere with classroom activities. Daily outdoor play is required by the State Department of Education if temperatures are between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Please dress your child accordingly.
How Do I Know If My Child Is Eligible for Pre-K?
Enrollment in the Voluntary Pre-K program is based upon a child’s eligibility as identified in TCA 49-6-101─104. Available space in each school system is limited and is based on the funding awarded each year through a grant process. Children must be four years old by Aug. 15 prior to the new school year and reside in the area served by the school district. No child who is eligible for kindergarten (five years of age on or before Aug. 15 prior to the new school year) may be enrolled in pre-K.
Enrollment Priority Requirements
1st Priority (Tier 1) - Pursuant to state law 49-6-101: students identified as economically disadvantaged. This identification is based on income levels set each year by the Department of Health and Human Services and used during the application process to determine income eligibility for enrollment.
2nd Priority (Tier 2) - Students with disabilities, students identified as English Language Learners (ELL), in state custody, or those identified as educationally at-risk for failure due to circumstances of abuse or neglect.
3rd Priority (Tier 3) - If space for enrollment remains after identifying children who meet Tier 1 or 2, the LEA may enroll any child that meets the age requirement and the requirements set forth by the Community Pre-K Advisory Council (C-PAC). These students are considered unserved or underserved and may be enrolled by the process established by the C-PAC.
In order to enroll, the following will be required at registration:
a) Birth Certificate
b) Child’s Social Security Card
c) Insurance Card
d) Proof of Income for ALL working members of the household.
e) Proof of Residency (The following items will meet the requirement for proof of residency: tax bill, rent receipt, utility bill, or official proof of mailing address.)
A completed set of enrollment forms is required for each child attending the Pre-K program. A child will be eligible for the program only after all forms have been completed and returned. Parents and guardians are expected to keep enrollment form information current.
The Tennessee Department of Health requires that children who enroll in public preschool programs provide an up-to-date immunization record. If accepted into the program, student will need a physical exam and shot record signed and dated by the physician after April 1, current year. The shot records must be documented on the Tennessee Preschool Immunization Certificate provided by the Morgan County Health Department or your child's doctor.
The Morgan County Schools Pre-K Program is licensed by the Tennessee Department of Education. The number of program participants is restricted based on licensing criteria. Enrollment will not exceed twenty (20) students per classroom. Should the program not be able to accommodate every applicant seeking to be enrolled, a waiting list will be established for those students whose parents or guardians choose to do so at the time of registration. Students on the waiting list will be notified of the availability of an opening in the program. If the parent or guardian declines participation in the program after notification of an opening, that child’s name will be removed from the waiting list. Parents or guardians will receive notification in the mail of their student’s acceptance into the program.
Field trips provide a wonderful extension to classroom learning. Parents will be informed about field trips through announcements and through newsletters. Permission slips must be completed in order for children to participate.
Health and Safety
If your child has a known medical condition, please be sure the preschool personnel know what to do if a problem should occur during program hours. Parents and guardians must make sure that any medication is available and that the forms for its use have been completed.
In case of serious accident or illness, parents will be called immediately. However, if we are unable to contact parents or other emergency contacts, we will seek emergency care for your child. Please make sure that the school has current emergency numbers so someone can be reached at all times.
Caregivers are required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse. This includes the reporting of parents and guardians who appear to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Health and Illness
For your child’s protection as well as for other students and our staff, you will need to keep your child home if he or she has any of the following:
Sore throat or cough accompanied by a fever or difficulty in breathing (wheezing)
Unusual discomfort on the part of the child
Discharge from the eyes or ears
Severe nasal discharge
Diarrhea or vomiting
Temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit
Any child who has a fever (temperature above 100), diarrhea, or has vomited must be kept at home for 24 hours after all symptoms have subsided. In case of a contagious disease, please contact your child’s teacher immediately. If your child contracts any of the following, notification is necessary: measles, mumps, RSV, chicken pox, head lice, or strep throat. All other parents will be notified as soon as possible. Your child’s name will remain confidential. Your cooperation is appreciated.
Meals and Snacks
Nutrition is an important part of your child’s development. A well-balanced meal is important to start the day off right and to sustain energy for active learning. Breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack will be provided daily. You will not need to send a snack for your child.
Parents and Guardians Are Welcome
Parents and guardians are invited to visit their child’s classroom at any time during the day. If you wish to join the class, as a courtesy, please let the teacher know in advance in order to ensure that the learning process is not interrupted. To ensure a safe and secure learning environment, all visitors to Morgan County Schools must first sign-in at the office and obtain a visitor’s pass.
If You Experience Problems
Parents and guardians are encouraged to schedule conferences with the classroom teacher whenever they are experiencing child or classroom related problems. Every effort will be made to resolve the problem or, when indicated, make appropriate referrals to other helping agencies within the community.
The Morgan County Preschools operate on the same school calendar as the rest of the school system. In the event of bad weather, you should listen to the radio for cancellations, or early dismissals.
Imagination Library-Governor’s Books From Birth
As a part of our program, we have committed to having 100% of our children enrolled in the governor’s books from birth program. Through this program your child can receive a book each month in your home at no cost to you. Some may already be enrolled in the program. Please let us know either way, as we must keep a record of who is enrolled.