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3/11/2014 8:48:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Unit 20 plans preschool, birth to 3 screenings
LAWRENCEVILLE - The Unit 20 pre-school and birth to 3-years-old screenings will be conducted March 17-20 at Parkside Elementary School.

School officials said the free service is for new or previously screened children who are not presently attending school in Unit 20.

The screenings will be conducted at various times during the four-day period. The screenings will be from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. March 17; from 12:30-5:45 p.m. March 18; and from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on March 19 and 20.

Screenings will take about one hour. Vision and hearing screenings will also be provided.

Parents are asked to bring their child's immunization records and birth certificates to the appointment.

School officials pointed out that "children must be 3-years-old by Sept. 1, 2014 to be eligible for the pre-k program, however, children birth-3 are also being screened." It was noted that this is not kindergarten registration or for children who will be 5-years-of-age before Sept. 1, 2014.

To schedule an appointment, call Joyce Potts at 943-3992.

The school district has provided answers to frequently asked questions regarding the screenings:

- A child does not have to be screened to enter kindergarten.

- Do all children screened get into preschool? No. Funding does not allow all children to be offered PreK. It depends upon the need(s) of a child.

-If I do not want my child to go to school yet, am I required to have my child screened? No, but it in encouraged. A youngster is checked to see if he or she is doing things that others boys and girls their age normally do.

- What happens at my appointment? This free service is offered throughout the year to interested families. Screening is conducted in the following areas: Vision, hearing, speech and language, vocabulary development, visual-motor integration, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, English proficiency, social/emotion development and cognitive development. These are not "tests." Children will consider them "play," or "games."

- Who will screen the children? Vision and hearing will be screened by a technician certified by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Speech and language will be screened by a certified speech and language therapist. A school nurse will collect a health history and other information. Developmental screengs are done by someone certified in Early Childhood Education. The teachers on the 2014 screening team teach at Parkside for either Unit 20 or the Southeastern Special Education Cooperative.

- If my child is screened in 2014 and either does not get to attend preschool or I choose to no have my child come to Pre-k, will my youngster have to be screened again next year to be considered for the preschool program? Yes. Screening is only good for one year.

- If my child only needs help with speech and I do not want him or her to attend Pre-k yet, can my child still receive speech and language therapy at school? Yes. School officials encourage the child to be in pre-k, if there is room, because the exposure to other children speaking helps develop speech as well as specific therapy. If the speech teacher determines the youngster needs speech therapy and the parent does not wish the child to attend preschool, or he or she does not get into pre-k, speech therapy can still be provided once or twice a week for about 20-30 minutes.

- If a child is in preschool, does the child have to go through the screening again to stay in prek the next year? No.

- If my child starts pre-k and I decided he/she is not ready and I remove my child from the program can the child be put back into the program the following year? Yes, but the child would have to be screened again in the spring to see if they still need it. Eligibility is dependent on the needs of the child.

- If the child does not get into pre-k when he or she is 3-years-old, what is the use of bringing them to the screening the following year? The number of pupils leaving pre-k for kindergarten may change, resulting in more openings one year than another. Also, a child who is not progressing may have more needs a 4-years-old than when the child was 3-years-old.

From year-to-year, eligibility for preschool is dependent on the needs of a child whose family brings them to Unit 20's free community screenings.


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