Four-year-old kindergarten provides children with quality early learning experiences that help provide a solid foundation for future success in school. Numerous research studies show long-term benefits for children who participate in high-quality early childhood programs, such as gains in cognition, knowledge, motor skills and language. Offering 4K through the school district ensures universal access to a quality prekindergarten program for all four-year-olds.
- A high quality four-year-old-kindergarten experience focused on developing the whole child
- A play-based approach to learning, grounded in Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards and a common curricular framework
- Ongoing professional development for 4K teachers, and communication and collaboration among stakeholders
- Strong community partnerships and comprehensive services that include family support and education, and family outreach to enhance children’s growth and development
- A safe & welcoming environment that supports children’s diverse learning styles using reflective and culturally responsive practices
- Universal access to the Waunakee 4K program, with voluntary participation by families and providers
What does the Waunakee 4K program look like?
The Waunakee 4K program is optional, but universal – open to ALL four-year-old children and their families within the Waunakee Community School District (WCSD). Waunakee offers 4K using the community-collaborative model, partnering the school district with preschools and child care facilities to implement the 4K program in their centers.
When will the program occur?
Children will attend 4K five-days-per-week for 2 hours and 40 minutes each day, generally following the school year calendar. A choice of morning or afternoon sessions is available. The approximate time for the AM session will be from 7:40-10:20 and the PM session will likely be from 11:35-2:15 to align with transportation at the elementary level. Starting and ending times may be altered, depending on where the center is located on the transportation route. The 4K day ends promptly at 10:20 and 2:15. Any additional time spent at the 4K center must be arranged by the family and the center.
Where will the program be held?
Classes are held at partner preschools and child care centers. These are the preschools we expect to partner with during the 2022-2023 school year, pending enrollment numbers.
|Adventures in Learning||1036 Quinn Drive|
|Brilliant Beginnings||1008 Quinn Drive|
|Inspire Early Childhood||5821 Oncken Road|
|Leap Academy||101 Kearney Way|
|Mary Lake Montessori||5464 Mary Lake Road|
|Moppet||203 W. Main Street|
|Peace Lutheran Preschool||701 S. Century Avenue|
|Saint John the Baptist Preschool||114 East Third Street|
Why is the district offering classes in preschools and child care centers? What are the benefits?
This approach, known as the community-collaborative model, builds on existing resources in our community. With district partnership, parents are guaranteed that their child’s classroom will have a highly qualified, DPI-licensed teacher and will implement a consistent curriculum framework incorporating the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards. In addition, centers will offer expanded family outreach activities, and certain sites will offer child care before or after 4K (wrap around care).
Can a provider charge a fee for the 4K program?
There is no cost to families for the regularly scheduled hours of the program. If parents elect to purchase child care services before and/or after the 4K day, the parents will pay the rate established by each individual program for the contracted services provided.
All sites use the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS). These standards are based on current research and are developmentally appropriate practices. There are standards in each of the five developmental domains:
- Health and Physical Development (e.g. fine-motor and gross-motor skills)
- Social and Emotional Development (e.g. social skills and self-esteem)
- Language Development and Communication (e.g. listening, speaking and reading readiness)
- Approaches to Learning (e.g. curiosity, persistence, and creativity)
- Cognition and General Knowledge (e.g. mathematical and scientific thinking and problem solving)
The standards drive our instruction and are the foundation for our report cards: WMELS 4th edition
Curriculum & Instruction
Creative Curriculum, 5th edition and Get Set for School are common resources at all 4K sites. Along with the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards mentioned above, sites will plan their interest areas and lesson plans using these materials. Staff from all 4K sites have attended training and share a common progress report and learning goals. In addition, all sites teach social-emotional skills through the Second Step curriculum. The curriculum has five units:
- Skills for Learning
- Emotion Management
- Friendship Skills/Problem Solving
- Transitioning to Kindergarten
According to the Committee for Children, "The Second Step program increases kids’ school success and decreases problem behaviors by teaching them skills for learning—such as paying attention, listening, and sitting still—as well as how to manage their emotions, solve problems, and make friends. All these skills help prepare kids for kindergarten and to be more successful in school and in life."
Do all partners have to meet Department of Public Instruction (DPI) regulations?
Yes. Classes are taught by a teacher who is licensed by DPI in early childhood education. Each partner will provide a minimum of 437 hours of instruction and 87.5 hours of parent involvement offerings.
Can religious instruction take place?
No, not during the Waunakee 4K program, which complies with state and federal regulations that specify the separation of church and state. If centers elect to offer religious instruction before or after the 4K program, they may do so, but staff and parents must understand that this is not affiliated in any way with the 4K program.
What is “parent involvement” and how are the annual hours (87.5) of parent involvement activities provided?
Parent involvement is a support network for families to expand the child’s educational experience. The Waunakee 4K partners and the district will work cooperatively to offer 87.5 hours of parent education and involvement activities. Examples include, but are not limited to, family fun nights, potluck dinners, training workshops, and parent newsletters.
4K Community Sites
|Adventures in Learning||1036 Quinn Drive||(608) 850-5430|
|Brilliant Beginnings||1008 Quinn Drive||(608) 849-4363|
|Inspire Early Childhood||5821 Oncken Road||(608) 733-1670|
|Leap Academy||101 Kearney Way||(608) 850-9696|
|Mary Lake Montessori||5464 Mary Lake Road||(608) 849-8800|
|Moppet||203 W. Main Street||(608) 849-5453|
|Peace Lutheran Preschool||701 S. Century Avenue||(608) 849-7322|
|St. John Preschool||114 East Third Street||(608) 849-5325|
If you are a Community Provider who wants to become a Partnering Agency for the WCSD 4K Program, please complete an application by November 1, 2022 for next school year: 2023-24 School Year Application
If this application is accepted, a 4K School-Community Partnering Agreement will need to be signed by authorized staff from both parties (center and WCSD).