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ICSD Pre-K Builds a Strong Foundation: Diverse, Inclusive, Play-Based Learning

Early childhood education is fundamental to the development of young learners. The ICSD’s Pre-K Program celebrates the joys and wonders of our diverse community of students.

The Program's approach to learning is grounded in an understanding that play is a child’s work; research is clear that play helps a child develop language, executive functions, mathematics, scientific thinking, and crucial social/emotional skills. The ICSD’s early childhood educators are committed to providing an inclusive school experience that recognizes and affirms the various backgrounds, abilities and interests of students, and recognizes that family partnerships only strengthen the Pre-K experience.  

This summer, the ICSD’s Pre-K Summer Program took place at Fall Creek Elementary over six weeks. Students worked to develop confidence and the skills needed to move ahead to kindergarten (making new friends, learning independence, and building self-esteem, to name a few). As part of the summer curriculum, teachers utilized a variety of anchor texts including Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy to introduce students to diverse stories and preface conversations about identity, inclusion, and activism.

Deb Jordan, Educator for Inclusion for the Early Childhood Program, praises the ongoing work with anchor texts spearheaded by Pre-K teacher Sarah Smith and colleagues. These early childhood educators are working to incorporate beautiful and powerful picture books that feature read alouds and lessons that validate and affirm student identities and real life experiences. The books also inspire a foundation of antiracism and social justice understanding, and even activism into our early childhood classrooms. Our preschoolers practice activism by learning how to use their noticing power when something is not right, use their acting power to make a difference, and their voice to build community and share what they have learned. 

During the school year, the ICSD has 12 Pre-K classrooms across six buildings serving roughly 150 children each year. Each multidisciplinary classroom team includes teachers, aides, service providers, mental health professionals, and family partners who all work together to meet the needs of our young students. 

The ICSD’s Pre-K program is proud to continue many best practices, including: play based project based learning, integration of the arts, and prioritizing family engagement and community partnerships. 

For more information on the Early Childhood Program, visit our webpage