PreK-3 Program

How are the PreK-3 Classes structured?

The Shlenker School encourages the social, emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual growth of each child. The PreK-3 program (children three to four years old) focuses on building competence and initiative through active involvement with the classroom learning environment. Activities promote cooperative behavior, problem solving skills, logical thinking skills, imaginative play, and language and emergent literacy skills. Interest areas include blocks, dramatic play, manipulatives, science, writing, discovery, book corner/library, music, and art. Literacy is a strong component of the PreK-3 program and literacy-based activities are integrated throughout the curriculum. All classes actively engage in the Classroom Storytelling Project of the School Literacy and Culture Project that is part of Rice University's Center for Education. Teachers implement this collection of unique techniques to advance the children's literacy to his/her fullest potential.

Children must be three years of age prior to September 1 in order to be in this grade level. Specialists for PreK-3 include Hebrew, motor development, Arts Alive! and music. Students also participate in Kabbalat Shabbat services each Friday.

The PreK-3 classes meet from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm, with morning drop off beginning at 8:45 am. Prior to 8:45 am, teachers are gathering materials and preparing the classroom for the day. We thank you for respecting their morning set-up time and for refraining from entering classrooms prior to 8:45 a.m. The group size is limited to 17 children in each class, and two teachers are assigned to each group of children. Our 1:8.5 ratio meets accreditation guidelines administered by the National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) Academy for Early Childhood Program Administration.

How should my child be dressed?

Children should come to school comfortable and ready to play. Please do not send them in clothes on which you do not want to see paint, playdough, or food. Early learning can be messy! For safety purposes, please do not send your child in any type of open toe or heel shoes, with or without socks. This includes Crocs™, sandals, clogs, etc. In the event a child's toes are stepped on, closed toe and heel shoes will protect his/her feet.

What should I bring for my child the first day?

  • Two individual photographs of your child, and one family photograph (will be used to label your child's cubby and coat hook and will not be returned)
  • Extra set of clothes, socks, and shoes

(Please label each piece of clothing with your child's name, including socks and shoes, and place in a Ziploc bag also labeled with your child's name)

  • Blue Shlenker tote bag from last year (children new to the school will be provided with a bag).

Teachers only send home art, other work, and school correspondence on Fridays. On Fridays teachers will pack each child's blue Shlenker bag to send home. We use this routine specifically so that backpacks and other tote bags are not needed throughout the week. Due to limited storage space in the classroom, please do not send backpacks or other items for your child to carry to and from school each day. Blue bags will go home on Friday and should be returned each Monday.

  • Small blanket and crib sheet (fits over nap mat).

We provide each child with an individual nap mat to be used only by him/her for the school year. This 2” thick mat is cleaned and sanitized each day. Due to limited storage space, please limit your child's belongings to a small blanket, a crib sheet, if desired. We purchase and plan on having a mat available for each child, therefore it is not necessary to send a mat to school with your child.

Please do not send : toys, especially toy weapons or violent toys, jewelry, money, or anything valuable.

What food do I need to provide?

We follow nutrition guidelines set by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and NAEYC. Parents will have an opportunity to participate in our parent snack day by signing up to bring a healthy snack to share with the class on the designated day. Additional information will be provided about food guidelines for the special snack day. Your teachers will talk to you to reconfirm food allergies or dietary needs your child might have. Please provide a healthy lunch with a drink each day. If your child's lunch needs refrigeration, please place a frozen "cold pack” inside the lunch box. This keeps the lunch cold and meets food safety guidelines. We are unable to refrigerate or heat food in the classroom. Please refrain from sending soft drinks or candy, and remember to include any needed utensils. Please remember no pork or shellfish may be brought into the building.

Regular School Hours:

Early Birds Program 7:30 am – 8:45 am
Early Childhood Classes 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
Afternoon Adventures Program 12:30 pm – 3:20 pm
Extended Day Program 3:20 pm – 5:30 pm
Children may be dropped off as early as 8:45 am

Important names to know:

Janna Barnhart, Early Childhood Division Head
Dr. Michelle Barton, Head of School
Tara Gassett, Director of Admissions
Staci Jefferson, Early Childhood Administrative Assistant