The job of getting children ready for tomorrow starts today. The School District of Lee County recognized the commitment that Childcare of Southwest Florida (CCSWFL) makes to preparing young children for kindergarten by selecting two CCSWFL centers as Preferred Pre-K Providers.
The Children’s Learning Center at Florida SouthWestern State College and The Community Children’s Center in Lehigh Acres were among only five pre-kindergarten programs countywide to receive the designation. Centers have to meet a rigorous set of criteria to qualify, including a rating of 4 or above on the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida’s Quality Rating Improvement System. The two CCSWFL centers that received the distinction have 5 ratings, the highest possible.
“A smooth transition between pre-kindergarten and kindergarten is a critical step that sets the foundation for a child’s educational future,” said Chris Hansen, CEO of CCSWFL. “We’re dedicated to making that a reality for every child.”
The jump to kindergarten isn’t simply an educational issue. It’s a social, emotional and physical challenge for children, said Megan Greeley-Gibson, director of The Community Children’s Center in Lehigh Acres.
“The children have to learn to be more independent and handle situations on their own,” Greeley-Gibson said. “The expectations are a lot higher in kindergarten.”
CCSWFL’s goal is to continue to advocate for the interests of children as they approach those challenges. Being designated as a Preferred Pre-K Provider is just the start.
“This is a continuous effort,” Greeley-Gibson said. “We’re going to be continuing every school year with trainings, and our teachers working with the kindergarten teachers and just learning more from each other about what our children in pre-K need to know about kindergarten.”
“Communication is at the heart of the seamless educational experience the centers provide,” said Martha Kebhart, director of the Children’s Learning Center at FSW. “The communication between the preschool teacher who is working with her children for nine months and that kindergarten teacher who is going to be getting our children is really important for success.”
To find out more about the Preferred Pre-K Provider initiative, visit leeschools.net/preferred-pk-providers. To learn about other ways Child Care of Southwest Florida works to prepare children for the bright future in front of them, visit ccswfl.org or call 239-278-1002.