(WEAU)---As parents, we all know how fast little ones learn and change. Early childhood educators say research shows the skills children learn from birth to school age set the tone for their future education. To make sure kids are ready to start school the Alma Center –Humbird-Merrillan School District has started a preschool integration project. The idea is to take the concept of the classroom and bring it to where kids naturally learn, in the home and at play.
Once a week, Early Childhood Education Teacher Laurie Spaude comes to play with 4 year old Aiden.
“They naturally learn through play and they need to learn how to socially interact how to problem solve. Not only am I teaching the child but I’m teaching the parents and or daycare provider so that they can implement those skills all every day,” says Spaude.
Aiden Patrick has autism and other developmental delays and like most kids his age spends most of his time with his family at home.
Spaude says by having Aiden work on motor skills and communication at home, he's more likely to use them when she's not there.
“He needs to be ready for the big world out there and this program has done a lot for him,” said Aiden’s mom Jessica.
Along with home visits, the district holds play groups once a week. There Aiden joins other preschoolers, like three year old Sophia Fronk.
"When she says something wrong Mrs. Spaude corrects it, I don't think she realizes that she’s learning you couldn't ask for anything more," said Sophia’s mom Tiffany.
Spaude says by combining learning and play, at home and at school, kids will be more successful come kindergarten.
"We are giving them tools at a young age so that they are ready to take on the academics," said Spaude
The play groups are open to any child up to age 5 in the district.
Recently the Elementary School’s preschool program was honored by the retired educators association for its innovation.