PreK-4 Program

How are the PreK-4 Classes structured:

The Shlenker program encourages the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual growth of each child. The PreK-4 program prepares children for the transition to kindergarten with activities that challenge the children while recognizing their individual developmental capabilities. Interest areas include blocks, dramatic play, manipulatives, science, writing, book corner/library, music, and art. Literacy is a strong component of the PreK-4 curriculum and literacy-based activities are integrated throughout the program. All classes actively engage in the Classroom Storytelling Project of the School Literacy and Culture Project that is part of the Rice University Center for Education. Teachers implement this collection of unique techniques to advance the children's literacy to his/her fullest potential.

Classroom activities build on existing skills while incorporating new, more sophisticated concepts in all areas of development. Teachers provide individualized instruction for children who are ready that focuses on developing skills in such areas as letter and number recognition, phonemic awareness, classification, sorting, sequencing, patterning, measuring, association, visual and auditory discrimination and expressive language.

Children must be four years of age prior to September 1 in order to be in this grade level. We offer a five-day program in PreK-4. In addition to weekly enrichment classes in music, Hebrew, motor development and art, PreK-4 students also visit the computer lab weekly. PreK-4 students help lead Kabbalat Shabbat services each Friday.

The PreK-4 classes meet from 9:00 am to 2:00 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 am. The group size is limited to 18 children in each class, and two teachers are assigned to each group of children. Our 1:9 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, play dough 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. Additionally, the fall surface used on the PreK-4 playground is shredded wood chips. Although this material is approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the chips frequently get stuck in shoes with openings, such as sandals and clogs. If you would like your child to wear sunscreen or insect repellent, please apply prior to coming to school.

What should I bring for my child on the first day?

  • Two individual photographs of your child, one family photograph

(Photos will be used in classroom projects and will not be returned)

  • One baby picture of your child
  • 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. We provide a mid-morning snack that includes one serving from two different food groups. 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 Bird Program 7:30 am – 8:45 am
Early Childhood Classes 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Afternoon Adventures Program 2:00 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