If you are concerned that your preschool child is developing or learning differently, you can call 856-966-2345 to request an evaluation for preschool special education and related services.
Early Childhood Education Registration
Program Description & Registration
The Camden City School District's Early Childhood Education Program offers a nurturing environment for three and four-year-old children. We offer a full-day program that is open year-round. The class size consists of 15 children, one certified teacher, and one paraprofessional.
The program provides a smooth transition from home to preschool and preschool to kindergarten. A developmentally appropriate curriculum is the basis of instruction throughout the district. The classroom provides a supportive and caring environment where children can develop a sense of trust and belonging. Children's culture, diversity, and individual differences are recognized and respected. Parent concerns regarding children's developmental progress are addressed and evaluated as necessary. Our goal is for our children to develop a love for learning and a positive attitude towards school. The Camden City School District works hand-in-hand with the New Jersey Department of Education's Division of Early Childhood Education.
We believe that a high-quality preschool program should be provided to all children, including those with special needs. We also believe that children with special needs are entitled to be educated in the least-restrictive environment. For that reason, children with special needs who are placed in inclusive settings get the best of both worlds. In addition to being exposed to positive social interactions with typically-developing children, the supports and services, which are outlined in the child's Individualized Education Program (IEP), are carried out in the child's natural environment - the classroom. The children are able to work toward reaching their goals within the regular routines and activities of the classroom. Teachers modify and adapt the environment, curriculum and materials to meet the needs of the children so that they are not only exposed to classroom experiences, but they are successful in their participation. We pride ourselves on the wonderful preschool experience provided to all of the children in our program.
The Role of the Educational Program Specialist
The New Jersey Department of Education defines the Educational Program Specialists as "specialized teachers who provide and maintain high levels of quality by helping and supporting preschool teachers. Their primary role is to visit classrooms and coach teachers using reflective practice to improve instruction." (Quoted from NJDOE HERE) The Educational Program Specialists meet with preschool teachers and paraprofessionals to coach/mentor them in self-reflection and improving their teaching practice, helping them strive to be the best teachers they can be! They also administer assessments like ECERS-R (classroom assessment), PCMI (math), and SELA (literacy) to help classrooms build upon their quality and give children the safest, most fun, and educational experience possible.
The Role of the Preschool Social Workers
The Preschool Social Workers support and empower parents and families, as well as foster relationships between the home, school, and community. They reach out to families, assess individual/family needs, inform families of community resources, and coordinate available services to improve the educational and social quality of children and their families. The Preschool Social Workers collaborate with the CPIS, P.I.R.T., teachers, other school staff, and community agencies. They also assist with recruitment, enrollment, and the transition process. Workshops are provided throughout the school year to educate parents, encourage parent involvement, and strengthen families.
The Role of Community & Parent Involvement Specialists (CPIS)
The Community & Parent Involvement Specialist (CPIS) oversees the school district's family services for the Early Childhood Department. The CPIS collaborates and coordinates work with Private Child Care Providers and Family Workers, Preschool Social Workers, local and state agencies, and other community resources in developing and maintaining a partnership to improve the overall well-being of children and families. Some of the responsibilities of the CPIS are to assist families in placing their child(ren) in the Early Childhood program, monitor the recruitment, enrollment, and transition process, organize family involvement activities within the community, coordinate the community needs assessment, and chair the Early Childhood Education Advisory Council.
- Age - Child must be three (3) years old for preschool or five (5) years old for kindergarten on or before October 1. (BIRTH CERTIFICATE IS REQUIRED)
- Immunization - Current immunization (medical) records
- Proof of Residency - Proof of Camden City residency (there is no cost to attend Camden City Preschools)
- Physical Examination - Physical examination with lead test results
Supports for Dual Language Learners
Educational Program Specialists work with individual teachers to develop weekly planning forms (lesson plans) that show Dual Language Learner (DLL) strategies and activities to scaffold DLL's learning of English and the home language. We model small group lessons using ELL strategies such as Picture Support Systems (Survival Phrases), props, acting out, gestures, and finger plays. We stress the importance of choosing units of study that are relevant to the children's prior knowledge and support the DLL activities through read-alouds, songs, pictures, and repetition. Our classrooms are equipped with literacy materials in many languages, not just English. We provide district-wide professional development in techniques, strategies, and materials needed for creating a language-rich environment that facilitates the support of the child's home language and development of English in their natural preschool environment. District staff and parent/community volunteers provide home language translation, explain cultural beliefs to program staff, and assist with outreach to families as needed.