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Pre-Kindergarten

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Overview of Portland Public Schools' Pre-K Program

Portland Public Schools offers high quality Pre-K programming in both Portland Public Schools buildings and in partnership sites. Children are eligible if they turn four years old on or before October 15 in the year of application. Start and end times of programs vary, with the long term goal being classroom days that mirror the hours of K-5 classrooms in each building. Efforts to provide extended day care on a sliding scale and transportation are ongoing, in an effort to decrease barriers to accessing our Pre-K programs.

Children are placed in Pre-K slots in their neighborhood schools or in partner sites, based on our Pre-K lottery process. Portland does not yet have programs available in each elementary school.

Classes are currently located at Riverton Elementary School, Portland Arts and Technology High School, East End Community School, Amanda C Rowe Elementary School, Peaks Island Elementary School, Presumpscot Elementary School, Youth and Family Outreach, and The Opportunity Alliance. Plans are underway to add additional classes in Portland’s public schools and/or in high quality partner preschool programs that are accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Combining resources affords us space, staffing and finances to serve the maximum number of children citywide.

Pre-K Program Philosophy

Pre-K children benefit from high quality opportunities for developing language, literacy, mathematical problem solving abilities, conceptual knowledge, academic vocabulary, and social emotional skills.  High quality Pre-K programs include a combination of intentionally planned learning environments and opportunities for child choice across all areas of development. Strong positive relationships with well trained, responsive and caring teachers positively impact child outcomes.  Parents are viewed as children’s first teachers and as critical partners in the care and education of their children. 

We view children as competent and capable learners with unique and diverse qualities. Our teachers are highly qualified based on national standards and receive regular professional development. The program prepares children to enter kindergarten having mastered foundational skills and the ability to initiate and maintain positive social relationships,  as well as gaining appropriate level of independence to express their needs, identify and manage their emotions and solve problems with caring adults and peers. As a city, it is our goal to ensure access to high-quality pre-K for all Portland children and we continue to partner with other organizations and providers to pursue that goal. 

Public preschools are approved and monitored through the Maine Department of Education and follow Chapter 124:  Basic Approval Standards: Public Preschool Programs. All pre-kindergarten classes use nationally validated curricula and follow the Maine State Early Childhood Learning Guidelines.  PPS Pre-K programs use formative assessment data to partner with families, to inform curriculum planning, and to best meet individual student needs. PPS Pre-K programs include developmental screening, language proficiency assessment as appropriate, assessment and referral services, and coordination and transition with school personnel for Individual Education Plans as needed.

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