SCREEN TIME: BCS announces dates for pre-K screenings
Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Beaufort County Schools is preparing for the next round of pre-kindergarten screenings coming this spring.
There are three locations and dates: Beaufort County Ed Tech Center on March 7-10; Belhaven Civic Center on March 15-16; and S.W. Snowden Elementary School on March 22-23.
Teresa Smith, pre-k coordinator at Beaufort County Schools, said all three screenings are open to anyone in the county, no matter where they reside, but parents must make an appointment first. The screenings include N.C. Pre-K and Title 1 programs.
She said the screening process is “intense” and takes 22 volunteers, some of whom are from childcare facility Care-O-World and the Beaufort/Hyde Partnership for Children, manning eight stations, two of which are for Spanish speakers. Children must be 4 years old or turn 4 by Aug. 31.
“We screen the children’s skill levels in the areas of conceptual knowledge, language and motor skills using the DIAL-4 (Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning),” Smith said. “We also screen vision and hearing. We conduct an exit interview with the parents so that they can know at what level their child is functioning.”
There is no option to disqualify a child for pre-k, but if a child is performing at a low development stage, the schools may make other arrangements to give the child more learning attention, she said.
According to Smith, parents need to bring several items to the screening: a certified birth certificate (not the mother’s copy), immunization records, two documents for proof of residence (utility bill or leasing document) and proof of income (check stub or W-2 form).
She said pre-k is an important step in a child’s education and has many benefits, as opposed to sending a child straight into kindergarten.
“It decreases the transition anxiety when children are already used to being with other children and they learn routines of time,” Smith said. “They certainly learn how to wash hands in pre-k because they do it all the time.”
“The social-emotional aspect of pre-k is a huge factor and benefit,” she added.
Danielle Price, a pre-k teacher at Eastern Elementary School, agreed that children learn a lot through pre-k, including motor development skills and learning how to share space with others.
“I actually love every class that I’ve had. I get attached to the children,” she said.
Price said she likes to watch a child’s progress throughout the year in her own class, but also over the course of their time at Eastern Elementary.
“Seeing the little milestones is just awesome,” she said.
After the screenings, Smith said letters of acceptance will go out in May. While a child cannot be disqualified from pre-k, the schools do not have enough room to accommodate all of those who apply.
“I only wish we had slots for everybody who comes to the screening,” she said.
To make an appointment for the Ed Tech Center screening, call 252-975-4647 ext. 11 or 252-917-4734 (Spanish). To make an appointment for the Belhaven Civic Center screening, call 252-946-6593 ext. 6583 or 252-945-0105 (Spanish). To make an appointment at S.W. Snowden screening, call 252-322-5351 or 252-945-0105 (Spanish).